Study observes 44 new exoplanets

A group of 44 newly discovered exoplanets shed new light on worlds beyond our galaxy.
By Joseph Scalise | Aug 09, 2018
An international team of astronomers has uncovered 44 never-before-seen exoplanets, a finding that may alter current space models and change the way scientists investigate distant atmospheres.

The recent discovery goes far beyond the number of planets usually uncovered by exoplanet surveys, and, as an added bonus, it also shows new details about planets that exist far beyond our galaxy.

For instance, the amount of tiny worlds revealed that such bodies may not be as rare as previously thought.

"It was also gratifying to verify so many small planets," said lead author John Livingston, a graduate student at the University of Tokyo, according to Science Daily. "Sixteen were in the same size class as Earth, one in particular turning out to be extremely small -- about the size of Venus -- which was a nice affirmation as it's close to the limit of what is possible to detect."

The new findings come from the Kepler space telescope, which picked up the worlds in the distant cosmos.However, as otherastrophysical phenomena can cause planetary-like signals, the team conducted a series of follow-up observations to confirm the exoplanets.

To do that, they took data from a special camera known as aspeckle interferometer and then cross referenced that information with data from another telescope. That ruled out all false positives and showed 44 new worlds, as well as 27 other bodies that are likely to be confirmed as exoplanets in future research.

Studies like this one are important because, as much as researchers know about space, they can only draw conclusions about processes like planetary formation. The more worlds they can study, the better they can piece everything together.

By looking into the new worlds found in the research, astronomers hope to get answers about both solar-system formation and planetary composition.

"The investigation of other solar systems can help us understand how planets and even our own solar system formed," added Livingston, according to Newsweek. "The study of other worlds has much to teach us about our own."

The newstudy is published inThe Astronomical Journal.

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