Scientists have managed to measure both the size and orbit of a gas giant exoplanet nearly 1,300 light-years away from Earth. Named GOT ‘EM-1b, which stands for Giant Outer Transiting Exoplanet Mass, the planet is about five times the mass of Jupiter.
Usually, scientists struggle to measure the size of giant gas planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, because they are far away from the stars they orbit. Yet this planet appeared in what scientists call our “solar quarter” in 2010, when NASA’s Kepler space telescope first discovered the object. Astronomers then observed periodic declines in the brightness of a nearby star, called Kepler-1514, which estimated scientists to be able to orbit planets.
The research team at the University of California, Riverside discovered that the planet, officially named Kepler-1
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It is possible to learn more about GOT ‘EM-1b and giant planets as it could tell us more about the solar system. “This planet is like a springboard between the giant planets in our own solar system, which is very far from our sun, and other gas giants that are much closer to their stars,” Dalba said.
The discovery of a giant planet that has not moved closer to its star over time will serve as an analogue to the gas giants in our solar system and tell us how normal our solar system is in its stability and evolution. Astronomers believe that Jupiter may be protecting the Earth from other objects in space that might otherwise affect our planet, giving our “blue marble” relative stability.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find analogues to Jupiter and Saturn, so scientists are happy to learn more about GOT ‘EM-1b.
Dalba and his team presented their research at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society and have detailed their discovery in a paper accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.
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