Even after two decades since their discovery, "hot Jupiters" are still puzzling objects. Astronomers have found five new Jupiter-like exoplanets which can also help shed some light on the quest for extrasolar world.
Hot Jupiters are termed as such because they are gas giant planets that orbit very close to their parent star, just like the planet Jupiter. These hot giant planets, however, are much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to its own.
Planets that exist beyond the Solar System are difficult to detect since they cannot be observed directly by astronomers; however, the proximity and size of these planets are easy to spot since they create a large cut in brightness when passing in front of their parent stars.
Wide Angle Search For Planets-South Or WASP-South
The team from Keele University used an advanced planet locator instrument called Wide Angle Search for Planets-South (WASP-South) to look for planet-like transits. It contains eight cameras observing specific areas in the southern part of the sky.
Found in the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), the instrument provides valuable information on the planetary nature of exoplanets. The team also used the advanced photometer and spectroscope.
Five New Hot Jupiters
Named WASP-124 b, WASP-119 b, WASP-129 b, WASP-126 b and WASP-133 b, the five exoplanets have distinct characteristics of their own.
WASP-129 b has the longest orbital period while WASP-133 b has the shortest. Though WASP-133 b has the shortest orbital period, it is a little bigger than Jupiter.
Out of the five exoplanets, WASP-126 b is the most fascinating since it orbits the brightest star. Coel Hellier, one of the study authors, suggested that this can be a good target for more detailed study for atmospheric characterization.
The exoplanets' masses varied from about 0.3 to 1.2 times the mass of Jupiter. In terms of orbital periods, it ranged from 2.17 to 5.75 days with their radii between one to 1.5 times the radius of Jupiter.
The study's findings show that the WASP instrument used in detecting exoplanets is efficient in providing valuable data about the exosolar world. These planetary systems are good targets for further detailed observations from Earth.
The findings of this study were published in the open access arXiv journal.
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