Scientists Discover Over 100 New Exoplanets

The entire data collected over the decade includes data from about 1600 stars.

Although the dataset wasn't initially created to look for exoplanets, MIT Torres postdoctoral research and team member Jennifer Burt said HIRES has proven itself to be an astute planet-hunter through its furnishing of radial velocity data. This discovery is consistent with scientists' belief that the smallest planets orbit the smallest stars.

Astronomers use radial velocity technique to detect the planets.

A separate website describes how to use the open source software program Systemic to search the data for possible planets. "We're trying to shift toward a more community-oriented idea of how we should do science, so that others can access the data and see something interesting". The spectrometer is installed on the 10-meter Keck-I telescope of the W.M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Astronomers have managed to make use of the sophisticated tools to detect the tiny wobble the planet induces as its gravity tugs on the star. "It was created to look at faint galaxies and quasars".

"HIRES was not specifically optimised to do this type of exoplanet detective work, but has turned out to be a workhorse instrument of the field", said Steve Vogt of the University of California Santa Cruz in the United States, who built the instrument. With all these data compiled, any given star in the dataset can have several days', years', ore even more than a decade's worth of observations.

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Researchers will periodically update the public dataset-which includes the date, velocity measured, error on velocity, and measurements of star's activity during observation-with new information; the public is encouraged to go online and download any available evidence for inspection.

Among all those candidates, they've confirmed the existence of one exoplanet orbiting GJ 411, the fourth closest star to our sun.

"My hope is that this data will give people who might not deal with science in their every day lives the incentive to investigate the data analysis and fitting process", Burt said.

In an astonishing find, astronomers from the US have uncovered over 100 new exoplanets that have potential to harbour life located almost 8.1 light years away from the Earth.

HIRES has spotted over 1,600 so-called neighborhood stars, each within 325 light-years from our planet and with observations ranging from 30 seconds to 20 minutes based on the level of precision needed in measuring. Burt says that there is a good chance that others, looking through the dataset and combining it with their own observations, may find similarly intriguing candidates. Already, the team has discovered roughly 100 potential exoplanets, six of which are believed to exist around a single star. The software has a complete tutorial guide for the public.

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  • Joe Gonzales