Astronomers have directly detected and imaged a gas giant orbiting another star by combining different exoplanet-hunting techniques.
The researchers first looked at a catalog of star mapping data collected from the European Space Agency (ESA). Jaya and the elderly hipparcus missions to determine which stars, based on their apparent motions or vibrations, are most likely to orbit – and therefore potentially visible – giant planets.
The international team of scientists then used the Japanese National Astronomical Observatory’s Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Observations using the telescope’s adaptive coronal optics and spectrometer instruments in July and September 2020 and May and October 2021 led to the discovery exoplanet HIP 99770B, new study reports.
Related: Exoplanets: Worlds outside our solar system
HIP 99770B is a gas giant planet more than 15 times its mass Jupiter It orbits the star HIP 99770, which is twice the mass of our star sun.
Direct imaging provides information such as the composition of the atmosphere around the planets and their temperatures. But finding planets in this way is very difficult, accounting for only a few of the exoplanet discoveries.
However, using star map data means astronomers know exactly where to look through follow-up telescope observations. Scientists said this approach could bring more discoveries of exoplanets by direct imaging, including Earth-like planets.
“This is kind of a pilot test of the kind of strategy we need to be able to image Earth,” study lead author Thayne Currie, who works at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Hilo, Hawaii and the University of Texas-San Antonio, told the European Space Agency. statement (Opens in a new tab).
“It shows that the indirect method sensitive to a planet’s gravitational pull can tell you where to look and exactly when to look for direct imaging,” Currie said. “So I think that’s really exciting.”
was the paper published (Opens in a new tab) In Science on April 13.
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