Scientists discover giant gaseous planet almost three times larger than Jupiter

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Scientists discover giant gaseous planet almost three times larger than Jupiter
Data of this planet was actually lying hidden in NASA’s TESS data and it was spotted by Tom Jacobs, a former US naval officer.NASA
  • A new Jupiter-like gaseous planet has been discovered through the help of citizen scientists.
  • Citizen scientists are volunteers who look through NASA’s TESS data for clues about exoplanets.
  • The gaseous planet has the same diameter as Jupiter’s but it’s three times more massive.
The hunt for new planets is always on and every new discovery gives us more clues about the unknown cosmos. A new Jupiter-like planet that is around 379 light years away from Earth has been discovered through NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). NASA launched TESS in 2018 on an all-sky survey mission to help discover exoplanets around nearby bright stars.

How this new planet was spotted is actually quite interesting. Data of this planet was actually lying hidden in NASA’s TESS data and it was spotted by Tom Jacobs, a former US naval officer. Jacobs has been a long time “citizen scientist” who are basically volunteers that look through NASA telescope data for signs of planets beyond our solar system.

By going through data from TESS, Jacobs helped spot the gaseous planet now identified as TOI-2180 b. Jacobs and his group of citizen scientists along with two veteran astronomers are collectively called the “Visual Survey Group” and they use a programme called LcTools to inspect telescope data by eye.

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But finding more about the planet and details like its size and mass required the help of professional astronomers as well as citizen scientists. The Jupiter-like planet orbits a star with the same mass as the sun and it has a 261-day year which is long in comparison to other known gas giants outside our solar system, according to The Astronomical Journal.

Planet TOI-2180 b is said to have the same diameter as Jupiter but it’s almost three times more massive. It’s also believed to contain 105 times the mass of Earth with elements heavier than helium and hydrogen. More data on this planet is expected to be discovered in February when TESS observes the star again in February.

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