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An exoplanet "without a known comparison": even researchers liked it

An exoplanet “without a known comparison”: even researchers liked it


“A strange planet without comparison”: the super-Earth impresses researchers

An exoplanet classified as a super-Earth exhibits unusual properties (avatar).

Foto: imago images / Science Photo Library

Dana Newman

Updated: 07/30/2021 – 6:22 PM

The exoplanet “Nu2 Lupi d” has unusual features. In addition, he demonstrated a behavior that science could observe for the first time.

Three planets orbit the star “Nu2 Lupi” at a distance of about 50 light-years from Earth. One of them is now considered super-earth. Researchers discovered only by a “very lucky circumstance” that extrasolar planet It has very unusual properties. So it should be examined more closely in the future.

Just by chance: Exoplanet ‘Nu2 Lupi d’ identified as super-Earth

Analysis of data from the European Space Agency (ESA’s) CHEOPS space telescope, led by Laetitia Delris of the University of Liège and the Geneva Observatory, helped make an unexpected observation. Like the German Aerospace Center (DLR) mentionedResearchers have discovered a “super-Earth with extraordinary properties”.

Existence outer planets Known since 2019. However, during one of the CHEOPS measurements, “Nu2 Lupi d” unexpectedly appeared in focus. The object passed in front of its star “Nu2 Lupi” and thus completed a transit that scientists did not expect. Until then, it had not been clear whether the orbit of this farthest of the three planets in the system was tilted such that such an event would be possible.

This is why the super-Earth is ‘unusual’

Transient planets are of particular value to exoplanet research because they allow the analysis of the atmosphere and the precise determination of its orbit and size. However, what makes “Nu2 Lupi d” so special, are its specific features, which also elevate it to the super-earth category:

  • An orbital period of 108 days (meaning it will be between Mercury and Venus within our solar system)
  • Only moderate radiation reaches it (unlike many other exoplanets)
  • The radius is about two and a half times the radius of the Earth
  • Its mass is 8.8 times the mass of Earth
  • High content of volatile matter

Wie das Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) mentioned, which is also involved in CHEOPS investigations, is the first time an exoplanet with an orbit period of more than 100 days has been observed in a transit event. In addition, the unusual super-Earth is currently considered an “alien planet with no known equal”.

The researchers published the detailed results about the “Nu2 Lupi d” and measurements made by CHEOPS in 2020 in the journal Nature Astronomy on June 28, 2021. chest.

Warning: Super Earth is not a second Earth

Incidentally, the term super-Earth has little to do with habitability and the surface structure of the planet. Alternative terms are gas dwarf or small Neptune. The classification is colloquial and targets terrestrial planets outside the solar system. Depends on the crowd. A super-Earth should be at least as heavy as Earth, but lighter than Uranus.

On the other hand, the planet already classified as Earth-like is Kepler-452b. The six billion-year-old exoplanet is about 1,400 light-years away. According to NASA, this is the closest object to our planet in terms of conditions. For example, temperatures at Kepler-452b must allow liquid water, a basic requirement for life.

Sources: German Aerospace Center (DLR), Natural Astronomy, and the Astronomical Institute of the Canary Islands (IAC)

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