Nasa’s Kepler planet-hunting spacecraft has discovered a new Jupiter-like exoplanet, orbiting a 2.6 billion-year-old star located about 545 light years from the Earth.
Researchers, led by Marshall C Johnson of the University of Texas at Austin, used the data from the K2 mission to search for possible transiting planets.
They identified two targets designated EPIC 211089792b (K2-29b) and EPIC 210957318b (K2-30b).
While K2-30b was confirmed as a “hot Jupiter” exoplanet during previous observations, K2-29b is a new addition to the long list of Kepler’s confirmed extrasolar worlds.
The astronomers also used three different ground-based spectrographs to conduct high-resolution spectroscopic observations of K2-29b, in order to definitely verify it as a “hot Jupiter.”
“Here, we present K2 photometry for two late-type dwarf stars, EPIC 211089792 (K2-29) and EPIC 210957318 (K2-30), for which we identified periodic transit signals, and our follow-up spectroscopic observations,” the researchers said.
“These have allowed us to confirm both transiting objects as bona fide hot Jupiters, and to measure the stellar and planetary parameters,” they said.
Hot Jupiters are gas giant planets, similar in characteristics to the solar system’s biggest planet, with orbital periods of less than 10 days.
They have high surface temperatures as they orbit their parent stars very closely-between.
While the newly discovered K2-29b exoplanet has a radius hat is about the same as Jupiter’s, it is less massive (0.6 Jupiter masses), ‘Phys.org’ reported.
It has an orbital period of 3.26 days and an equilibrium temperature of approximately 800 degrees Celsius.
The planet’s parent star K2-29 is slightly smaller than our Sun, with 0.75 solar radii and 0.86 solar masses. The star is about 2.6 billion years old and is located some 545 light years from the Earth, researchers said.
The research was published in the journal arxiv.org.