Planet hunter TESS discovers ‘happy family’ in space

The family consists of two stars that appear to be sisters and together they have produced four planets that are still in their turbulent teen years, but very valuable, to scientists.

NASA agency Transiting a satellite to survey the outer planets (TESS for short) recently leaned on the stars TOI 2076 and TOI 1807. The stars are more than 130 light-years away and about 30 light-years apart. This makes them appear too far apart to form a binary star system, but because they move in the same direction through space, they appear to be related to each other. So astronomers believe they originated from the same gas cloud. With that, they are actually twin sisters. But the family is bigger than that, according to TESS notes. There are a total of four exoplanets orbiting the stars. Three revolve around TOI 2076. One revolves around TOI 1807.

TESS discovered the planets when it spent a month gazing at the patch of the universe containing TOI 2076 and TOI 1806. A slight dip in the brightness of both stars during that period indicates the presence of planets that, while orbiting around the parent star, sometimes overlap between TESS and the parent star, obscuring a portion Little starlight.

Three small Neptune
TOI 2076 appears to contain three small Neptunes. These are planets located between Earth and Neptune in diameter. The innermost planet – TOI 2076b – is three times larger than Earth and takes 10 days to complete an orbit around its parent star. TOI 2076c and -d are just over four times the size of Earth and take more than 17 days to orbit the parent star.

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Een Ultrashort Planet
TOI 1807 appears to have one exoplanet. This planet is twice the size of Earth and takes only 13 hours to complete its orbit. This makes the planet one of the so-called The period of the planets is too shortPlanets that take less than 24 hours to orbit their parent star. TOI 1807b is also the smallest very short planet that has been discovered so far.

TOI 1807b – just like its three nephews orbiting TOI 2076 – are still very young. “They are not newborns,” researcher Christina Hedges said. “But they haven’t settled yet, either.” They are in transition, their teenage years so to speak.

young stars
Their parent stars are also very young and are 200 million years old – for comparison: our Sun is 4.5 billion years old. Young stars are still very active. It generates a lot of solar flares and ultraviolet rays. “Stars now produce perhaps ten times more ultraviolet radiation than they do when they reach the age of our sun,” study researcher George Chu said.

This radiation may also not affect the planets orbiting it. Theoretical models reveal that all planets have thickened atmospheres after rising from the disk of gas and dust around their young parent star. The radiation from their parent star can seriously affect it and even make it disappear. Then it remains a rocky heart. Some of those worlds that have been stripped of their atmosphere actually acquire a new atmosphere thereafter, for example through volcanoes. It remains unclear exactly how this relates to the planets around TOI 2076 and TOI 1807. TOI 2076b now receives 400 times more UV radiation from the parent star than Earth receives from the Sun. And for TOI 1807b, there will be 22,000 times more UV radiation. Given the age of stars, it’s not unreasonable for planets to lose their atmospheres. Hubble or the James Webb Space Telescope – due to launch later this year – may be able to get a closer look at its remains.

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In follow-up studies there will undoubtedly be a lot of interest for TOI 1807b. Theoretical models indicate this The period of the planets is too short It is very difficult to form it near their star. So it is assumed that they see daylight at a greater distance from the parent star and later move towards the star. Since TOI 1807 is only 200 million years old, this means that TOI 1807b moved only recently. By studying the planet more closely, researchers hope to learn more about this stage in the planet’s life path. “Many of the things we study evolve over such long periods of time that people don’t notice changes from month to month or year to year,” said study researcher Trevor David. “If you want to see how planets evolve, it’s best to track down as many planets of different ages as possible, and then ask yourself where they differ from each other.” Therefore the discovery of planets around TOI 2076 and TOI 1807 is of great value for such investigations. Planetary systems expand our understanding of the ‘teenage’ years of exoplanets.

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