After teaming up together, scientists at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of Oviedo have discovered two new planetary systems. One of these two systems has three planets that are the size of ours.
The information was obtained from data from NASA’s Kepler satellite. A mission called K2 began in November 2013, gathering data on exoplanets and the eclipses they produce in the light of their stars.
The leaders of the research are Javier de Cos (University of Oviedo), and Rafael Rebolo (IAC), who led a team of researchers from both centers and the University of Geneva and the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).
Two Dwar Stars – Millions of Years Far From Our Sun
The star K2-239 is the one hosting the first exoplanetary system. It is a red dwarf type M3V, according to the observations that were made using the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma). The star is located in the constellation of the Sextant, at almost 160 light years from the sun. K2-239 has a compact system, and three of its planets have a similar size to Earth, which orbit that star once every 7.8 and 10.1 days.
The second dwarf star called K2-240 has two planets almost twice the size of our planet. The temperature of the two dwarf stars is almost half of the temperature of our sun. According to the researchers, the planets they have discovered could be tens of degrees hotter than the temperature on Earth, because they receive a lot of radiation from their stars, as they orbit close to it.
The research will continue using the new James Webb space telescope to see what is the composition of the discovered planets’ atmospheres. They will also determine masses, densities and other physical properties of the planets that have found by using the ESPRESSO instrument (which is installed in the Very Large Telescope) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). They can also use future spectrographs in the GTC or future astronomical facilities (at the ELT or the TMT).
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