'Super Earth' found near the center of our galaxy, revolves one round in 617 days
Chile : Researchers have found a 'super-earth' close to the center of our galaxy with the help of a rare observation. The newly discovered planet, a little heavier than our earth, is one of the rare planets which have a similar size and orbit.
The planet's parent star has roughly 1/10th the mass of our Sun. The mass of the planet itself is nearly half the mass of Earth and Neptune combined, according to the researchers. It has been measured that the approximate distance of the planet from its parent star is almost similar to what is of earth from the sun.
Researchers at the University of Canterbury (UC) found the planet and made observations. Lead researchers in the finding, Dr Antonio Herrera Martin and Associate Professor Michael Albrow from the University of Canterbury's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences in the College of Science, collaborated with an international team for this investigation.
The research paper has been published in The Astronomical Journal.
The paper's lead author, Dr Herrera Martin, while mentioning that the discovery was extremely rare, mentioned on the University website, “To have an idea of the rarity of the detection, the time it took to observe the magnification due to the host star was approximately five days, while the planet was detected only during a small five-hour distortion. After confirming this was indeed caused by another ‘body' different from the star, and not an instrumental error, we proceeded to obtain the characteristics of the star-planet system”
According to the researchers, the newly discovered earth-like planet completes one round around its parent star in about 617 days.
The researchers discovered the planet using a technique called gravitational microlensing.
Dr Herrera Martin explained the technique. He told the University website, “The combined gravity of the planet and its host star caused the light from a more distant background star to be magnified in a particular way. We used telescopes distributed around the world to measure the light-bending effect.”
For the observation, the researchers used three identical telescopes in Chile, Australia, and South Africa. Most of these events happened due to single stars. However, Dr Herrera Martin noticed that there was an unusual shape to the light output from this event. After months of analysis, they concluded that the event happened due to a star with a low-mass planet.