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Meteor magnets in outer space study find extinct giant planets



  Meteor magnets in outer space
The "wobble" or radial velocity technique of finding planets is dependent on the movement of the stars created as they are circulated by their planets. The blue wave represents movement towards the ground, while the red wavelength arises as the star's heads away. Credit: (NASA / JPL-Caltech)

Astronomers believe that planets such as Jupiter shield us from spacecraft that would otherwise slam into the ground. Now, they are closer to learning about giant planets acting as guardians of solar systems elsewhere in the galaxy.


A UCR-led team has discovered two Jupiter-sized planets about 1

50 light-years away from Earth that could reveal whether life is likely on the smaller planets of other solar systems.

"We believe that planets such as Jupiter have greatly influenced the progress of life on Earth. Without them, humans may not be here to get this conversation," says Stephen Kane, senior study author and UCR lecturer in planetary astrophysics. "Understanding how many other stars have planets such as Jupiter could be very important to learn about the planets life in these systems."

Along with floating waters, Kane said astronomers believe that such planets have the ability to act as "slingshots" & # 39; drag objects such as meteors, comets, and asteroids out of their paths toward battle with small rocky planets.

Many larger planets have been found close to their stars. But they are not so helpful in learning about the architecture of our own solar system, where the giant planets, including Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, are far away from the sun. Large planets far from their stars have so far been more difficult to find.

A recent study accepted for publication in Astronomical Journal describes how Kane's team succeeded in a new approach that combines traditional detection methods with the latest technologies.

A popular method for searching for exoplanet planets in other solar systems – involves monitoring stars for "wobble", where a star moves toward and away from the ground. Wobble is probably caused by gravity pulling a nearby planet exercising on it. When a star is angled, it is a sign that there may be an exoplanet nearby.

When the planet is far from its star, gravity traits are weaker, making wobble smaller and harder to detect. The other problem with using the wobble detection method, Kane said, is that it just takes a long time. The earth only takes a year to pave the sun. Jupiter takes 12, Saturn takes 30, and Neptune takes an amazing 164 years.

The larger exoplanets also take many years to encircle their stars, which means observing a complete trajectory could engulf an astronomer's entire career. To speed up the process, Kane and his team combined the wobble method with direct imaging. In this way, if the team believed that a planet could cause wobble, they could confirm it by sight.

Obtaining a direct image of a planetary quadrangle of miles away is not a simple task. It requires the largest possible telescope, one that is at least 32 meters long and very sensitive. Even from this distance, the light of the star can overexpress the image and obscure the target planets.

The team overcomes this challenge by learning to recognize and eliminate the patterns in their images created by starlight. Removing the starlight gave Kane's team the opportunity to see what was left.

"Direct imaging has come a long way, both in terms of understanding the patterns we find and in terms of the instruments used to create the images, which is much higher resolution than they have ever been," Kane said. . "You see this every time a new smartphone is released. The camera detectors are always improved and so is in astronomy."

In this project, the team used the combination of wobble and imaging method for 20 stars. In addition to the two being bound by giant jupiter-like planets that had not been discovered earlier, the team also discovered a third previously observed star with a giant planet in its system.

In the future, the team continues to monitor 10 of the stars where planetary escorts could not be ruled out. In addition, Kane is planning a new project to measure how long it takes these exoplanets to complete rotations toward and away from their stars that are not currently being measured.

Kane's team is international with members of the Australian Astronomical Observatory, the University of Southern Queensland, the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University in Australia, as well as at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. They are also spread across the United States at the National Observatory Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, AZ, Southern Connecticut State University, NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University in California and the Carnegie Institution of Washington in DC

"This discovery is an important piece of the puzzle, because it helps us understand the factors that make a planet habitable and whether it is common or not, "Kane said. "We quickly gather answers to this question that the last 3,000 registered years of history could only wish they had made them available."


Five planets revealed after 20 years of observation


More information:
Detection of planetary and star comrades for neighboring stars via a combination of radial velocity and direct image technology, arXiv: 1904.12931 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1904.12931

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University of California – Riverside

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Meteor magnets in outer space study find extinct giant planets (2019, May 24)
May 25, 2019
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