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The well-known planet hunter Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has found its first alien world better to say “Super-Earth” in the Universe.
TESS was launched on April 18, 2018 atop a Falcon 9 rocket. During its primary mission, it is expected to find more than 20,000 exoplanets, compared to approximately 3,800 exoplanets known when it launched.
Astronomers have used the planet hunter to detect a new planet around the star of Pi Mensae. This star is also known as HD 39091, it is a is a yellow dwarf star like the sun and the second-brightest among stars known to have transiting exoplanets. Pi Mensae is located nearly 59.5 light-years from Earth in the constellation Mensa.
According to space.com “previous research had already spotted a gas giant around Pi Mensae that’s about 10 times more massive than Jupiter. This exoplanet, named Pi Mensae b, has a highly oval-shaped “eccentric” orbit that carries it up to 3 astronomical units (AU) nfrom its star”.
This time, scientists have discovered a new world around Pi Mensae. This super-Earth, h dubbed Pi Mensae c, orbits about 0.07 AU from its star, or more than 50 times closer than Mercury does the sun. (it is a super-Earth, a class of planets slightly larger and more massive than our own world).
The density of Pi Mensae c is consistent with a picture where “the entire planet is made of water,” study lead author Chelsea Huang, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Space.com. However, “it is more likely to have a rocky core and an extended atmosphere made of hydrogen and helium,” she said. “We also think this planet might be evaporating right now, given the intense irradiation it gets from its host star.”
Huang added. “If so, how did the inner system survive? These questions still need further investigation, and understanding them will tell us a lot of planet-formation theory.”
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