Recently, a "preteen" exoplanet was discovered, which is mature but undergoes some changes. He orbits a young star in a binary system and can shed light on how planets have formed in our own sunlight system.
Scientists at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire observed the planet using the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of NASA, who in April went on a mission to search for alien planets orbiting the brightest stars of the night sky. The planet was discovered by the NASA satellite in November 2018 and later confirmed by the group of scientists in Dartmouth in March.
The exoplanet, named DS Tuc Ab, was found in a two-star system (it has two suns), but it is only orbiting one of its outstanding parents. Every eight days it orbits the earth, the researchers said. They estimated the star system at about 45 million years. By comparison, our solar system is around 4.6 billion years old.
Related: NASA's TESS mission to hunt exoplanets in images
Due to its young age, the exoplanet is still undergoing some rapid changes, such as the radiation that its host star emanates from a statement of Dartmouth College.
"One of the main goals of astronomy is to understand the big picture of how we came here, how solar systems and galaxies take shape, and why," said Elizabeth Newton, assistant professor of physics and astronomy in Dartmouth and co-author of The Study. said in the statement. "By finding solar systems that are different from our own, especially the young, we can hope to learn why the Earth and our own solar system have evolved as they did."
By observing the exoplanet evaporation atmosphere scientists hope to predict how the world will evolve over the next billion years. As a result, they hope to better understand how the atmospheric loss could have affected older planets, including the Earth.
Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered over the past two decades, but only a handful of these alien planets orbited a young star. Scientists are always keen to observe young worlds as they develop, to gain insight into the formation of planets.
This particular planet has a diameter approximately six times the size of the Earth . Due to the size of this world, which lies between Neptune and Saturn, the scientists believe that it has a similar composition to the larger planets in our solar system.
DS Tuc Ab has two suns and orbits the binary star system in a short period of eight days. This binary number is one of the brightest young star systems ever seen, greatly facilitating planetary observation, Newton said.
"With the brightness of the star we can study the planet in detail, because the more photons you have, the better the statistics you have," she said. The planet was discovered using the transit method, in which scientists search for small changes in the brightness of a star, which occur when the planet crosses the face of the star and thus blocks part of the sunlight.
In future investigations, the researchers hope to measure the mass of this exoplanet and determine what type of molecules are present in its atmosphere, the study said.
This new study was published on July 23, in The Astrophysical Journal Letters .