Game-changing planet discovered by USQ researchers and NASA

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It is located in the constellation Microscopium, 32 light years away from the Earth and orbits the star AU Microscopii (AU Mic) that scientists have always been interested in.

'This star probably hasn't had time to form small, rocky planets yet, ' said Barclay. But Beta Pictoris and AU Mic have markedly different planets, despite being neighbors.

Since then, astrophysicists have been actively searching for planets around AU Mic, since it is within such discs of dust and gas that they form. The astro is AU Microscopii, that has "only" 20 or 30 million years, for what turns out to be at least 150 times younger than our Sun. The star is surrounded by a disk of gas and dust debris, the leftover remnants of when the star formed.

Named AU Mic b, NASA scientists say the infant planet is about 30,000 miles wide and was discovered by the Transitioning Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

According to NASA, citing the study, the exoplanet is about 8 percent larger than Neptune.

How was AU Mic b discovered?

The star is just 22 million years old and is a member of nearby collection of stars called the Beta Pictoris moving group, which takes its name from a bigger, hotter A-type star that harbors two planets. "By contrast, Beta Pictoris b's orbit doesn't appear to have migrated much at all".

Washington D.C. [USA], June 24 (ANI): Understanding how planets form is one of the main challenges scientists face when placing our own and other planetary systems in context.

Jonathan Gagne, a scientific adviser at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal, Canada, who is also an author on the study, said AU Mic is a small star about half the mass of our Sun. These stormy stars possess strong magnetic fields and can be covered with starspots - cooler, darker and highly magnetic regions akin to sunspots - that frequently erupt powerful stellar flares.

To discover the exoplanet, astronomers used data collected by NASA's TESS that was observing AU Mic in July and August 2018. "What makes this especially rare is that it also transits its star, so we can measure the radius as well as the mass, leading to an estimate of the bulk density of the planet and its likely composition".

Espace pour la vie | Newswire
Espace pour la vie | Newswire

He said the planet and star are still so young that they are surrounded by a disk of debris left over from their formation.

Spitzer confirmed two more transits in 2019, making the planetary discovery official.

Those astronomers point their own telescopes, taking special measurements to determine if it is "wobbling" back and forth in space.

Thanks to his research and the dedicated efforts of his fellow scientists, AU Mic b was found after only a few years of observation.

AU Mic b is featured in a new NASA poster available in English and Spanish, part of a Galaxy of Horrors series. It's bright, and it has a debris disk and now, at least one planet with a direct size measurement.

It is a nearby "laboratory" for understanding the formation and evolution of stars and planets that will be studied for decades to come. The planet is believed to have formed far from the star and migrated inward to its present orbit.

'One of the things we want to understand is, 'When do planets form, and what do they do in their early days?,' said Barclay.

Our solar system is so incredibly diversified, and it stands out compared to most of the other systems.

Regular dips in a star's brightness signal the possibility of a transiting planet.


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