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Friday, March 17, 2017

British schoolchildren have discovered a new planet

By studying the graphs of the fluctuations in brightness of several hundred stars in the constellation Virgo, astrophysicist Rob Jeffries from Keele University and helped him British students managed to discover a previously unknown exoplanet located at a distance of about 800 light years from Earth. It belongs to the class of “hot Neptune” and revolves around a rather dim light.

photo: ru.wikipedia.org

Hot Neptune exoplanets are the mass and the structure of which is comparable to the mass of Uranus or Neptune, but the distance to its star is smaller than the space from the sun to the Earth. The new planet was reported to be the criteria meets.

Open space body makes a complete revolution around its star in just 19 “of the earth” days, and the surface temperature of the planet is extremely high. Interestingly, in the plans of the researcher and helped him with children and adolescents, the discovery of such exoplanets are not included — they were looking for a cosmic body orbiting binary systems of stars. However, such planets study participants to find, alas, failed. However, the found “hot Neptune” is also a pretty valuable discovery.

The data in the analysis which the scientist and his young assistants had discovered exoplanet were obtained with the telescope “Kepler”. It is worth noting that on 16 may 2013 it is a long time stopped working because of failed two of its four reaction wheels. It was assumed that in the future the telescope will not be able to collect new information, however in may 2014 instead of the third motor flywheel it was decided to use the pressure of solar radiation that gave the telescope a “second life”. A new research program called K2.

Rob Jeffries pointed out that in working together the children voluntarily took part in it received a number of non-profit skills — ability to work in a team and ability to manage own time and some knowledge that will be useful to students, if in the future they decide to associate career with astrophysics.

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