A magnifying glass in space reveals an icy alien planet

“We declare this space to be infinite … There are infinitely many worlds of the same kind as ours.”

Giordano Bruno (1584)

In the 16th century, the Italian astronomer, mathematician and philosopher Giordano Bruno became one of the first to propose that the stars we observe in our night sky are truly fiery celestial bodies that resemble our sun – and are also accompanied by their own retinue of planets. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that the first batch of planets orbiting a star above ours was discovered – and they were real oddballs orbiting some sort of stellar corpse that “to push”. Pulsars are very young neutron stars, the sad, dense, urban relics of massive stars recently died in the brilliant explosion of a supernova explosion. The press planets were the very first hint that planets orbiting distant stars may be strange worlds that bear little or no resemblance to the planets that inhabit our own solar system. In April 2017, astronomers announced that they had found yet another oddball-distant world – another bizarre planet among the thousands of strange, beautiful, and at times creepy known worlds discovered in the past generation. With a mass similar to Earth and orbiting its star at the same distance as we orbit our sun, it is a planetary “ice ball”.

This enchanting world of ice is far too cold to be inhabited by life as we know it because the mother star is extremely weak. However, this discovery adds to our scientific understanding of the often strange planetary systems that exist outside the family of our own sun.

“This” ice ball “planet is the lowest-mass planet ever found microlensing, “ Dr. Yossi Shvartzvald noted in a NASA April 26, 2017 Jet Propulsion Laboratory Press Release. Dr. Shvartzvald is a NASA postdoctoral fellow, located at the JPL, based in Pasadena, California, and lead author of a study published in the April 26, 2017 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Magnifying glasses in the room

Microlensing is a technique that helps detect distant objects by using background stars as magnifying glasses. When a foreground star travels exactly in front of a brilliant background star, the foreground star’s gravity focuses the light emanating from the background star, making it look brighter. If a planet orbits the foreground star, it can cause an extra blip in the parent star’s brightness. In the case of the “snowball” exoplanet, the blip lasted only a few hours. Astronomers using this technique have discovered the furthest known exoplanets from the earth. In addition, this technique can detect low-mass planets significantly farther from their parent stars than Earth from the Sun.

The term gravity lensing itself refers to the path that travels light when it is turned. It occurs when the mass of an object in the foreground distorts, bends and distorts the light of an object in the background. The traveling light does not have to be fully visible light – it can be any form of radiation. As a result of lensing, rays of light not normally seen are curved so that their paths wander towards the observer. Conversely, light rays can also be bent to stray away from the observer. There are different kinds gravity lenses: strong lenses, weak lenses, and micro lenses. The differences between these three different forms of gravity lenses has to do with the position of the background object that sends its light into space, the foreground lens that disturbs the light and the position of the observer. The mass or shape of the foreground gravity lens can also play an important role. Therefore, the foreground object determines how much light from the background object is distorted and also where this light will wander.

Albert Einstein’s Theory of special relativity (1905), you describe a spacetime that is often compared to an artist’s empty canvas. The artist paints points and lines on this beautiful canvas that represents the stage where the universal drama takes place – but it plays no role in the drama itself. The great performance that linked the stage to the drama came ten years later to Einstein’s Theory of general relativity (1915). According to General relativity, Space itself becomes a star player in the drama. According to the plot of the play, Space tells the mass how to move, and mass tells Space how to bend. Spacetime is as flexible as a trampoline, on which children throw a heavy ball. The ball represents a huge object – for example, a star. The heavy ball creates a hole in the flexible fabric of the trampoline. When the children playfully throw marbles on the stretch fabric, the marbles will travel curved paths around the ‘star’ – as if they were real planets orbiting a real star. When the heavy ball is removed, the marbles go straight paths on the trampoline fabric, as there is no dimple on the stretchy fabric to bend their paths. The stage and the drama are united and it takes as long as the protagonists exist.

The Theory of general relativity predicts that heavy mass concentrations in the universe will distort the traveling light like a lens, magnifying the celestial bodies that are behind the mass when observed by Earth astronomers. The very first gravity lens was discovered in 1979, and lensing now offers a new tool for astronomers to observe the cosmos shortly after its original birth, about 14 billion years ago.

If the path the wandering light travels is far from the mass, or if the mass is not particularly great, weak lensing occurs – and the background object is only slightly distorted. If, on the other hand, the background object is placed almost exactly behind the mass, strong gravity lens may occur, smearing out sprawling foreground objects, such as galaxies or galaxy clusters. However, the strong lensing small, pointed objects often produce multiple images, such as one Einstein cross– dancing a dazzling spectacle around the lens.

The idea that extrasolar planets have been considered for centuries. But until about a generation ago, there was no way to detect them – or even estimate how often they occur, or even determine how similar (or uneven) they could be to the planets of our Sun’s known family .

The idea that planets might exist around stars beyond our own sun was mentioned in the 18th century in the 18th century by Sir Isaac Newton General Scholium that you shut off his It begins. While comparing the planetary family of our sun, Newton wrote, “And if the fixed stars are the centers of similar systems, they will all be built to a similar design and subject to the rule of A. ‘

In 1952, more than 40 years before the first hot Jupiter planet, the Russian astronomer Otto Struve (1897-1963) wrote that there is no particular reason why planets could not hug their parent stars much closer than the quartet of inner planets that inhabit our own solar system embraces our sun. Struve suggested that Doppler spectroscopy and the transit method could see “super-Jupiters” orbiting their star.

Indeed, the first planet discovered around a star similar to our own sun was one hot Jupiter–dubbed 51 Pegasi b (51 Peg bin short). The discovery of this huge gas giant planet, in 1995, caused considerable joy as well as great confusion to astronomers who hunt planets. This is because giant, gaseous planets were previously thought to love 51 Peg b their stars could not rotate in very narrow orbits, “toasting” orbits – which carried them a lot of closer to their star than Mercury’s orbit around our sun. 51 Peg b was discovered by astronomers who discovered the Doppler method– who is looking for a tiny swing caused by a planet on its parent star. This method favors the discovery of massive planets in tight, burning, star-enveloped orbits.

Claims of exoplanet observations have been made by many frustrated astronomers since the nineteenth century. For example, some of the earliest concerned the binary star 70 Ophiuchi. In 1855, William Stephen Jacob of the East India Company’s Madras Observatory announced that he had discovered orbital abnormalities that made it “very likely” that a “planetary body” was lurking in this system.

The first scientific discovery of one extrasolar planet was in 1988. However, the first confirmed detection only came in 1992. As of April 1, 2017, there were 3,607 exoplanets detected in 2,701 planetary systems and 610 multiple planetary systems that have been confirmed.

The European Organization for Astronomical Research (ESO) High Accuracy Radial Speed ​​Planet Finder (HARPS) (since 2004) has detected about a hundred exoplanetswhile NASA’s Kepler the space telescope (since 2009) has discovered several thousand candidate distant worlds. About 11% of these newly discovered candidates may be false positive. On average, there is at least one planet per parent star in our Milky Way, many of which revolve around multiple planets.

The least known mass exoplanet is Draugr (PSR B1257 + 12A or PSR B1257 + b), which is only about twice the mass of the Earth’s moon. The most known exoplanet listed on NASA Exoplanet Archive is DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 bwhich is about 29 times heavier than the planetary colossus of our own solar system, Jupiter. But because DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b is so huge, according to some definitions of “planet”, it can be classified as a type of failed star known as a brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs are likely born in the same way as their more successful stellar relatives – due to the collapse of a particularly dense blob embedded in the undulating, swirling, undulating folds of a cold, dark, giant molecular cloud. However, brown dwarfs never manage to gain enough mass to ignite their star fires.

There are exoplanets who hug their mother stars so closely that they only take a few hours to complete a job – while others are so far from their star that it takes literally thousands of years to complete a single job. Some indeed exoplanets are so far from their stellar parent that it is difficult to determine whether they are really gravity-bound to their star. Almost all exoplanets discovered so far in our own Milky Way galaxy, but there are also a handful of potential detections of it extragalactic planets far, far away. Most famous exoplanet is for us Proxima Centauri blocated “only” 4.2 light-years from Earth, and orbiting the nearby star Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our sun.

The discovery of exoplanets You have a greater scientific interest in the search for extraterrestrial life.

A magnifying glass in the sky reveals a distant icy world.

However, the newly discovered “ice ball” world is unlikely to lead a life as we know it. Called OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lbnevertheless, it is of great value to astronomers in their quest to discover the dispersion of planets in our Milky Way. An important unanswered question is whether there is a difference in the frequency of planets in the central bulge of our Milky Way compared to the disk. The disk is a pancake-like area that circles the bulge. OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb inhabits our Milky Way disk, just like a duo of exoplanets which was previously discovered by microlensing operated by NASAs Spitzer space telescope.

“Although we only have a handful of planetary systems with well-defined distances far beyond our solar system, it is missing Spitzer bulge detections suggest that planets in the center of our Milky Way may be less common than in the disk,said Dr. Geoff Bryden on April 26, 2017 JPL press release. Dr. Bryden is an astronomer at JPL, and co-author of the study.

For the new study, astronomers were notified of the initial one microlensing event through the ground Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) survey administered by the University of Warsaw in Poland. The authors of the study used the Korea Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet), managed by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, and Spitzer. The telescopes were used to track the event from Earth and in space.

KMTNet is composed of three wide-angle telescopes: one in Australia, one in Chile and one in South Africa. When the astronomers of the Spitzer team received the OGLE alert, they realized that this could indicate the discovery of a new one exoplanet. The microlensing the event warning was made only two hours earlier Spitzer’s the targets for the week would be completed.

With both KMTNet and Spitzer By closely monitoring the event, astronomers took advantage of two vantage points from which to study the intended objects. It was as if two widely separated eyes were observing it. The astronomers had data from these two perspectives and were able to spot the planet KMTNet and calculate the mass of both exoplanet and uses its parent star Spitzer dates.

“We can know details about this planet because of the synergy between KMTNet and Spitzer,“noted Dr. Andrew Gould on April 26, 2017 JPL press release. Dr. Gould is an emeritus professor of astronomy at Ohio State University in Columbus, and co-author of a study.

OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb is nearly 13,000 light-years from Earth, orbiting an astronomer so small and fuzzy that he is not even sure it really is a star. It really could be that unfortunate run of the stellar nest, a total failure like star – a brown dwarf. This specific possible star is “only” 7.8 percent of the mass of our own sun, and is exactly on the borderline between being a true star or a stellar fault, whose nuclear fusion fires did not start because it never got hot enough to generate energy through that process.

There is an alternative suggestion that it could be an ultra-cool dwarf star, which is a real star, despite its relatively small size. In fact, it could be a small star very similar TRAPPIST-1, which Spitzer and ground-based telescopes have recently been found to be the stellar parent of seven Earth-sized worlds. Those seven distant planets all orbit their parent star and hug it even better than Mercury does our sun. All seven of these intriguing worlds could potentially have liquid water. The presence of liquid water indicates the possibilitybut not the promise, of the existence of life as we know it. However, OGLE-2016-BLG-1195LbEarth-Sun distance is extremely cold. This is because its stellar parent is a very faint star, and this planetary “ice ball” is likely to be colder than Pluto in our own solar system – indicating that all the water that exists in this world is frozen. A planet should orbit much closer to the small faint star to get enough light to keep liquid water on the surface.

Ground-based telescopes available today cannot detect smaller planets than these distant, frozen “ice balls” using the microlensing method. It would take a very sensitive space telescope to discover smaller worlds microlensing events. NASA is coming Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), scheduled for mid-2020, will have this capability.

Dr. Shvartzvald responded on April 26, 2017 JPL Press Release that “One of the problems in estimating how many planets there are is that we have reached the lower limit of planetary masses that we can currently detect with microlensing. FIRST will be able to change that. “

Source by Judith E Braffman-Miller