Jupiter-Like Exoplanet Kepler Telescope made the discovery 17,000 Light-Years Away
Scientists have discovered an exoplanet circling a star 17,000 light-years away, which is an intriguing discovery. The discovery was made in 2016 by the now-retired Kepler Space Telescope. It is the most distant planet yet to be discovered. The exoplanet, known as K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, was discovered using the microlensing technique. The approach identifies exoplanets by observing how their gravitational fields affect the brightness of the stars around which they orbit. In terms of mass, the exoplanet is nearly identical to Jupiter and orbits its star at nearly the same distance as Jupiter orbits the Sun in our solar system.
The data that led to the discovery of the distant planet was gathered two years before the Kepler telescope ran out of fuel. It's the planet-hunting observatory's farthest world ever discovered, more than twice as far as its previous record.
The findings were reported in the Royal Astronomical Society's Monthly Notices.
Dr. Eamonn Kerins, Principal Investigator for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) grant that supported the experiment, stated that this discovery was extraordinary in many ways because Kepler was never designed to locate planets via microlensing.
Using gravitational microlensing, exoplanets located at great distances from Earth can be discovered. The researchers examined Kepler data from April to July 2016, while the spacecraft was regularly monitoring millions of stars in the center of the Galaxy, in order to discover an exoplanet using the microlensing method.
"This result underscores the advantages for exoplanet microlensing detection that come from continuous, high-cadence temporal sampling that is available from space," the researchers wrote in their report.
Five ground-based surveys on Earth looked at the same area of the sky as Kepler. Kepler, at a distance of around 135 million kilometers from Earth, detected the anomaly much earlier and for a longer length of time than the Earth-based researchers.
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be launched by NASA later this decade. Nancy Grace Roman could uncover thousands of distant planets using microlensing technology. The European Space Agency's Euclid mission, which is scheduled to launch next year, may conduct a search for microlensing exoplanets.