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Exoplanet Discovered in the Big Dipper with Help of Russian Know-How
April 18, 2018 14:52


A new planet outside the Solar System has been discovered with the help of a unique method developed by Russian scientists from the Ural Federal University, the Irkutsk State University and the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the press service of the Irkutsk State University reports.
“The scientists of the international project have discovered a new planet outside the Solar System. The planet found in the Big Dipper constellation has been named KPS-1b. The exoplanet is orbiting around a star similar to the Sun... The mass and size of the KPS-1b exoplanet are close to the characteristics of Jupiter, but it is orbiting very close to the parent star. Due to such proximity to the star, the atmospheric temperature of KPS-1b is much higher than that of Jupiter. KPS-1b is a gas giant similar to Jupiter, with the temperature of its atmosphere reaching up to 1500 degrees Celsius. The planet revolves around its mother star in the span of 41 hours at the distance of just over four million kilometers.
The Jupiter-like exoplanet was first spotted by an amateur astronomer from the USA. So far this is the only example in the history of astronomy, when a planet outside the Solar System was discovered with the help of an amateur telescope.
The necessary amount of information confirming the discovery was obtained with the joint work of several observatories, including the Main Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Tunkin Astrophysical Test Site of the Irkutsk State University, and the BTA telescope of the Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Karachaevo-Cherkessia.
Spectral observations, which made it possible to establish the mass of the exoplanet, were performed at the Upper Provence Observatory in France. In addition, astronomers from England, Belgium, Italy, the USA, the Netherlands, Turkey, Portugal, Lithuania, and Canada participated in the observations that provided and confirmed the discovery. The results are published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
"Software for the data analyzes and search of candidates for exoplanets was developed in the Ural Federal University, Russia, and subsequent observations of candidates were conducted by a number of observatories, including Russian telescopes at the Pulkovo and Tunkin Observatories, and at the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
According to experts, the search for new exoplanets, as well as detailed studies of already known extrasolar planets, enable scientists to approach the understanding of how the Solar System was generated and evolved.
“The current discovery is unique for the fact that the signs of the existence of an exoplanet were first found from the data obtained by an amateur astronomer from the state of Massachusetts (USA) using a telescope with a mirror diameter of 28 cm only,” – a representative of the Ural Federal University explained.
The Kourov Astronomical Observatory is located in the Sverdlovsk Region. The most eastern observatory in Europe, it was established in 1965. Kourovka Planet Search is a project aimed at discovering transit extra-solar planets – the exoplanets. As part of this project, astronomers have been observing sites in the Cygnus, Cassiopeia, and Big Dipper constellations. For today, astronomers have discovered more than three thousand planets located outside the Solar System.
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Author: Vera Ivanova

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