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5,000 Exoplanets: Listen to the Sounds of Discovery (360 Video)


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    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Discovery Alert: With Six New Worlds, 5,500 Discovery Milestone Passed!
      NASA’s Exoplanet Archive confirmed four new worlds, bringing the total past 5,500. On Aug. 24, 2023, more than three decades after the first confirmation of planets beyond our own solar system, scientists announced the discovery of six new exoplanets, stretching that number to 5,502. From zero exoplanet confirmations to over 5,500 in just a few decades, this new milestone marks another major step in the journey to understand the worlds beyond our solar system.
      The Discovery
      With the discovery of six new exoplanets, scientists have tipped the scales and surpassed 5,500 exoplanets found (there are now 5,502 known exoplanets, to be exact).
      Just about 31 years ago, in 1992, the first exoplanets were confirmed when scientists detected twin planets Poltergeist and Phobetor orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. In March 2022, just last year, scientists celebrated passing 5,000 exoplanets discovered.
      Key Facts 
      Scientists have discovered six new exoplanets — HD 36384 b, TOI-198 b, TOI-2095 b, TOI-2095 c, TOI-4860 b, and MWC 758 c — this has pushed the total number of confirmed exoplanets discovered to 5,502.
      Details
      HD 36384 b is a super-Jupiter that orbits an enormous M giant star.
      This planet was discovered using the radial velocity method, which measures the “wobble” of far-off stars that is caused by the gravitational tug of orbiting planets. Orbits a star so large that it clocks in at nearly 40 times the size of our Sun. TOI-198 b is a potentially rocky planet that orbits on the innermost edge of the habitable zone around its star, an M dwarf.
      This planet was discovered using the transit method, which detects exoplanets as they cross the face of their stars in their orbit, causing the star to temporarily dim. TOI-2095 b and TOI-2095 c are both large, hot super-Earths that orbit in the same system around a shared star, an M dwarf.
      Planets were both discovered using the transit method. Are close enough to their star that they are likely more similar to Venus than Earth. TOI-4860 b is a Jupiter-sized gas giant, or a “hot Jupiter,” that orbits an M dwarf star.
      This planet was discovered using the transit method. Completes an orbit every 1.52 days, meaning it is very close to its star. While it is extremely rare for giant planets like this to orbit so closely to Sun-like stars, it is even rarer for them to orbit M-dwarf stars as is the case here. MWC 758 c is a giant protoplanet that orbits a very young star. This star still has its protoplanetary disk, which is a rotating disc of gas and dust that can surround a young star.
      This planet was discovered using direct imaging. Was found carving spiral arms into its star’s protoplanetary disk. Is one of the first exoplanets discovered in a system where the star has a protoplanetary disk. The field of exoplanet science has exploded since the first exoplanet confirmation in 1992, and with evolving technology, the future for this field looks brighter than ever.
      In March 2022, NASA passed 5,000 confirmed exoplanets. Tis data sonification allows us to hear the pace of the discovery of those worlds. In this animation, exoplanets are represented by musical notes played across decades of discovery. Circles show location and size of orbit, while their color indicates the detection method. Lower notes mean longer orbits, higher notes mean shorter orbits. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Russo, A. Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds) Watch this video in 3D There are a number of both space and ground-based instruments and observatories that scientists have used to detect and study exoplanets.
      NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched in 2018 and has identified thousands of exoplanet candidates and confirmed over 320 planets.
      NASA’s flagship space telescopes Spitzer, Hubble, and most recently the James Webb Space Telescope have also been used to discover and study exoplanets.
      NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is set to launch in May 2027. Roman will be carrying a technology demonstration called the Roman Coronagraph Instrument. This coronagraph will work by using a series of complex masks and mirrors to distort the light coming from far-away stars. By distorting this starlight, the instrument will reveal and directly-image hidden exoplanets.
      With the success of the Roman Coronagraph Instrument, NASA could push the envelope even further with is a concept for the mission the Habitable Worlds Observatory, which would search for “signatures of life on planets outside of our solar system,” according to the 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics.
      The Discoverers 
      These six exoplanets were discovered by different teams as part of five separate studies:
      TOI-4860 b TOI-2095 b & c HD 36384 b TOI-198 b MWC 758 c Share








      Details
      Last Updated Jul 16, 2024 Related Terms
      Exoplanet Discoveries Exoplanet Exploration Program Exoplanets Gas Giant Exoplanets Studying Exoplanets Super-Earth Exoplanets Terrestrial Exoplanets Explore More
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      To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
      Movie: Cal Poly Pomona/B. Binder; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss This graphic shows a three-dimensional map of stars near the Sun. These stars are close enough that they could be prime targets for direct imaging searches for planets using future telescopes. The blue haloes represent stars that have been observed with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton. The yellow star at the center of this diagram represents the position of the Sun. The concentric rings show distances of 5, 10, and 15 parsecs (one parsec is equivalent to roughly 3.2 light-years).
      Astronomers are using these X-ray data to determine how habitable exoplanets may be based on whether they receive lethal radiation from the stars they orbit, as described in our latest press release. This type of research will help guide observations with the next generation of telescopes aiming to make the first images of planets like Earth.
      Researchers examined stars that are close enough to Earth that telescopes set to begin operating in the next decade or two — including the Habitable Worlds Observatory in space and Extremely Large Telescopes on the ground — could take images of planets in the stars’ so-called habitable zones. This term defines orbits where the planets could have liquid water on their surfaces.
      There are several factors influencing what could make a planet suitable for life as we know it. One of those factors is the amount of harmful X-rays and ultraviolet light they receive, which can damage or even strip away the planet’s atmosphere.
      Based on X-ray observations of some of these stars using data from Chandra and XMM-Newton, the research team examined which stars could have hospitable conditions on orbiting planets for life to form and prosper. They studied how bright the stars are in X-rays, how energetic the X-rays are, and how much and how quickly they change in X-ray output, for example, due to flares. Brighter and more energetic X-rays can cause more damage to the atmospheres of orbiting planets.
      The researchers used almost 10 days of Chandra observations and about 26 days of XMM observations, available in archives, to examine the X-ray behavior of 57 nearby stars, some of them with known planets. Most of these are giant planets like Jupiter, Saturn or Neptune, while only a handful of planets or planet candidates could be less than about twice as massive as Earth.
      These results were presented at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, by Breanna Binder (California State Polytechnic University in Pomona).
      NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science from Cambridge, Massachusetts and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.
      Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
      For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission/chandra-x-ray-observatory/
      Visual Description:
      This video shows a three-dimensional map of stars near the Sun on the left side of our screen and a dramatic illustration of a star with a planet orbiting around it on the right side.
      The star map on the left shows many circular dots of different colors floating within an illustrated three-sided box. Each wall of the box is constructed in a grid pattern, with straight lines running horizontally and vertically like chicken wire. Dots that are colored blue represent stars that have been observed with NASA’s Chandra and ESA’s XMM-Newton.
      Suspended in the box, at about the halfway point, is a series of three concentric circles surrounding a central dot that indicates the placement of our Sun. The circles represent distances of 5, 10, and 15 parsecs. One parsec is equivalent to roughly 3.2 light-years.
      In the animation, the dot filled, chicken wire box spins around slowly, first on its X axis and then on its Y axis, providing a three-dimensional exploration of the plotted stars.
      News Media Contact
      Megan Watzke
      Chandra X-ray Center
      Cambridge, Mass.
      617-496-7998
      Jonathan Deal
      Marshall Space Flight Center
      Huntsville, Ala.
      256-544-0034
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      View the full article
    • By NASA
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