A team of researchers observed 300 stars in an attempt to track down planets which are on par. They discovered that exoplanets similar to Jupiter exist and they can be found in a similar position in comparison to the planet’s location in our solar system.
It is well known that planets will form in the areas filled with gas and dust that are located near young and active stars. In the case of large, gas giants, there seems to be a major sweet spot located in the proximity of the orbit followed today by Jupiter.
The ideal point has a range of 3 to 10 times the distance between the Earth and our Sun, or 3 to 10 astronomical units (for reference, Jupiter is located at a distance of 5.2 AU from the sun). The researchers used high-quality images captured with the help of the Gemini Planet Imager (also known as GPI), a valuable infrared detector mounted on the Gemini South Telescope which can be found in Chile.
A new study finds exoplanets similar to Jupiter
The GPI Exoplanet Survey is one of the most ambitious scientific projects, aiming to find exoplanets by photographing them directly instead of relying on the radial velocity method or the transit technique. The GPI camera can perceive heat emitted by newly-formed planets and brown dwarfs, with the latter being bigger than gas giants but unable to generate the fusion process required for being a star.
Five hundred stars were observed with the help of GPIES, and the analysis of the first 300 was collected in a comprehensive study. The paper will offer valuable information about the places where planets tend to appear, the ideal conditions, mass distribution, and distance from the star.
The effort paves the way towards further exploration as superior technology will be available in the future. Advanced observatories will allow researchers to take a closer look at planets which appear in the so-called golden area and it is likely that many current questions will be answered.
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