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30 Mar, 2019 13:11

‘Hot Saturn’ exoplanet 60 times bigger than Earth discovered

‘Hot Saturn’ exoplanet 60 times bigger than Earth discovered

Researchers have discovered a new five-billion-year-old planet that is 60 times bigger than Earth using data from NASA’s exoplanet-hunting space telescope, TESS.

The huge planet, named TOI-197.0 and dubbed “hot Saturn” because of its size and heat, is “one of the best described exoplanets of this type to date,” according to researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, who led the international study.

The gas planet orbits much closer to its star than Saturn does our sun, which explains the hot climate, and so has a ‘year’ of only 14 days. Research also shows the planet has a density of only 1/13 of that on Earth, and is approximately 60 times the mass of our planet.

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The asteroseismologists – stellar astronomers who study seismic waves – said it’s rare to have such precise information about a far-away planet, but the clear seismic waves around the star allow astronomers to determine factors like size, age, and mass.

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As scientists begin to sift through the trove of data collected by TESS, researchers are gleaning valuable insights into other solar systems. “This is the first bucketful of water from the fire hose of data we’re getting from TESS,”said Steve Kawaler, an Iowa State University professor who co-authored the study.

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