Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology

A New Exoplanet Reveals its Identity

Nicolae Petrescu, Raffaella Aversa, Antonio Apicella and Florian Ion Tiberiu Petrescu

Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology


Positioned approximately 70 light years from Earth a sun named by astronomer HD 97658, is nearly bright enough to be seen even with the naked eye. The more interesting part of the problem lies in the fact that this sun, this star, also has an exoplanet HD 97658b, the size of which is approximately double compared to our planet Earth and having a smaller mass compared to our planet about eight times. HD 97658b is basically a super-Earth, a great planet in cosmic space, for which there is no example in our solar system. Even if its discovery was made long ago, its size and mass were recently determined by Diana Dragomir, a postdoctoral astronomer with the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Observatory (LCOGT) of UC Santa Barbara University. As part of his research, Dragomir carefully studied various transits of this exoplanet with the help of the cosmic telescope, able to determine Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars (MOST). That telescope was launched in 2003 in an orbit about 510 miles high. Dragomir has been able to analyze the data read by the telescope, using the code written by LCOGT postdoctoral colleague Jason Eastman. The results were recently published online in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. It is considered a super planet, a super-Earth, an exoplanet having the mass and dimensions in the area of our solar system (between Earth and Neptune). It does not imply, as other obligatory researchers assert, the temperatures, the composition, the total similarity to the environment on Earth. These additional requirements are beyond the definition of a super-Earth and may represent additional desires. Superpowder refers to the mass of the planet and does not involve a temperature, composition or a similar environment on Earth. The brightness of HD 97658 allows astronomers to study it closely, this star as well as its planet, in ways that are not possible for most exosystems (which have been discovered around the weaker stars). HD 97658b was discovered relatively recently in 2011 by a team of specialized astronomers using the Keck Observatory and a technique called Doppler. Initially, only a lower limit could be established for the mass of the planet and nothing was known about its size. Transits, such as those observed by Dragomir, can occur only when a planet's orbit is wearing it in front of the parent star, thus reducing the amount of light that we see from the star (so easy) when overlapping. The decrease in brightness occurs in each orbit if the orbit happens to be almost exactly aligned with our line of sight on Earth. For a planet that is not much larger than our Earth, around a star nearly as great as our Sun, the interruption in the light is very small and short but still detectable by the specialized telescope, MOST SPACE.


© 2018 Nicolae Petrescu, Raffaella Aversa, Antonio Apicella and Florian Ion Tiberiu Petrescu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.