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Giant planet orbiting a small star find stuns scientists: NGTS Survey

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London, Nov 1,2017: An international team of astronomers has found a gas giant the size of Jupiter orbiting a star half the size of the Sun, a discovery that challenges theories of planet formation which state that a planet of this size could not be formed by such a small star.

This unusual planet, NGTS-1b, is the largest planet compared to the size of its companion star ever discovered in the universe, according to the study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete surprise to us — such massive planets were not thought to exist around such small stars,” said lead author of the research Daniel Bayliss from the University of Warwick in England.

According to existing theories of planet formation, small stars can readily form rocky planets but do not gather enough material together to form Jupiter-sized planets.

The planet NGTS-1b which is six hundred light years away from Earth is a hot Jupiter, at least as large as the Jupiter in our solar system, but with around 20 per cent less mass.

It is very close to its star — just three per cent of the distance between Earth and the Sun – and orbits the star every 2.6 days, meaning a year on NGTS-1b lasts two and a half days.

The temperature on the gassy planet is approximately 530 degrees Celsius, or 800 kelvin.

The researchers spotted the planet using the Next-Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) – a wide-field observing facility made of a compact ensemble of telescopes, designed to search for transiting planets on bright stars – run by the Universities of Warwick, Leicester, Cambridge, Queen’s University Belfast, Observatoire de Genève, DLR Berlin and Universidad de Chile.

The planet orbits a red M-dwarf — the most common type of star in the universe, leading to the possibility that there could be more of these planets waiting to be found by the NGTS survey.(IANS)

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Stars’ ‘DNA’ could help scientists find Sun’s lost siblings

Unfortunately, astronomers cannot collect the DNA of a star with a mouth swab but instead use the starlight, with a technique called spectroscopy

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UFO religion as a concept is now becoming a part of popular understanding.
Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay

With the aim to find the lost siblings of the Sun, now scattered across the sky, a team of astronomers has collected the “DNA” of more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way.

The “DNA” can help trace the ancestry of stars, showing astronomers how the universe went from having only hydrogen and helium — just after the Big Bang — to being filled today with all the elements we have here on Earth that are necessary for life.

Little Cub galaxy
Scientists to find sun’s lost siblings. Wikimedia Commons

The research, detailed in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, is based on the Galactic Archaeology survey, called GALAH, launched in late 2013 as part of a quest to uncover the formulation and evolution of galaxies. When complete, GALAH will investigate more than a million stars.

The GALAH survey used the HERMES spectrograph at the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s (AAO) 3.9-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope near Coonabarabran in New South Wales to collect spectra for the 340,000 stars. “No other survey has been able to measure as many elements for as many stars as GALAH,” said Gayandhi De Silva of the University of Sydney and AAO.

Also Read: Next Planet-Hunting Mission Of NASA Postponed

“This data will enable such discoveries as the original star clusters of the Galaxy, including the Sun’s birth cluster and solar siblings — there is no other dataset like this ever collected anywhere else in the world,” De Silva said.

The Sun, like all stars, was born in a group or cluster of thousands of stars, explained Sarah Martell from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney who leads the GALAH survey observations. “Every star in that cluster will have the same chemical composition, or DNA – these clusters are quickly pulled apart by our Milky Way Galaxy and are now scattered across the sky,” Martell said.

Black hole in milky way
Scientists are collecting DNA of stars. VOA

“The GALAH team’s aim is to make DNA matches between stars to find their long-lost sisters and brothers,” she added. For each star, this DNA is the amount they contain of each of nearly two dozen chemical elements such as oxygen, aluminium and iron.

Unfortunately, astronomers cannot collect the DNA of a star with a mouth swab but instead use the starlight, with a technique called spectroscopy. The light from the star is collected by the telescope and then passed through an instrument called a spectrograph, which splits the light into detailed rainbows, or spectra. IANS

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