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NASA Telescope has discovered three intriguing planets hiding around a nearby star



  tess-30

TESS before launch.


NASA

NASA's Transiting Plane for Satellite Exoplanet Research (TESS) has just marked another scientific triumph with the discovery of three fascinating planets hanging on a nearby star. One is the super-Earth, slightly larger than our own planet. The other two are Neptune-like exoplanets that you won't find in our own solar system.

The star is known as the "TESS Object of Interest 270" or briefly TOI 270. Its more formal name is "UCAC4 1

91-004642", but it's a mouthpiece. The star is 40% smaller than our sun and is also about a third cooler. It hangs at 73 light-years, which qualifies it as a neighbor.

TESS has discovered the intriguing planets of TOI 270 by looking for a dimming star of the receiving star, which shows a planet passing around it.

The planet closest to the star is about 25% larger than Earth and probably rocky. This "super-Earth" is called TOI 270 b. Don't expect to send colonists there. NASA described it as "hot in the oven" due to its proximity to the star.

The other planets, TOI 270 c and TOI 270 d, are probably closer to the gas giant Neptune. "Planets c and d can best be described as mini-Neptunians, a kind of planet that is not observed in our own solar system," NASA says.

This NASA infographic shows how planets of TOI 70 compare to Earth.


NASA Space Flight Goddard / Scott Wiessinger

The discovery of exoplanets is only the beginning. "The TOI-270 will soon allow us to explore this" missing link "between rocky planets like Earth and the dominant-gas mini-Neptunes, because here all these types are formed in the same system," says Maximilian Gunter, lead author of an article published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday.

TESS launches in 2018 and is on a roll with exoplanet finds, including a striking three-sun planet .

Astronomers plan to look one more time. TOI 270 after NASA's next generation Launches the James Webb Space Telescope, hopefully in 2021.

TESS is great for finding exoplanets of all kinds, but what really interests us is finding planets which may have liquid water and potentially sustain life. Do not count the TOI 270 out front. There may even be more planets in the system waiting to be discovered.


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Originally posted on July 29, 10:39 am PT


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