Most Common Outer Planets Likely Neptune-Mass: Study

Posted: Dec 16 2016, 7:47am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Most Common Outer Planets Likely Neptune-Mass: Study
Neptune-mass exoplanets like the one shown in this artist's rendering may be the most common in the icy regions of planetary systems. Beyond a certain distance from a young star, water and other substances remain frozen, leading to an abundant population of icy objects that can collide and form the cores of new planets. In the foreground, an icy body left over from this period drifts past the planet. Credits: NASA/Goddard/Francis Reddy
  • Microlensing Study Shows the Outer Planets Likely Neptune-mass

A new study found by gravitational micro lensingshows that Neptune-mass worlds are the most common type of planet that exist in outer planets

Scientists found some points in cold planets and detected that most of them had masses like Neptune, and scientist did not expect more number at lower masses, described by the scientist Daisuke Suzuki, a post-doctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

NASA scientists found that Neptune’s mass planets were 10 times more than Jupiter mass planets. Gravitational micro lensing took benefit of the relativity theory by Einstein about light bending effects of such massive objects.

It happens when the lens aligns with a distant star. The alignment may shift within days or weeks and change the source brightness. Exact pattern of the changes give astronomers a clue about star’s nature, including some host star.

Scientists mostly study planet’s mass ratio to the host and its separation, explained David Bennett, a team member and an astrophysicist at Goddard.

Through microlensing more than 50 exoplanets were discovered, and this number is more than the planets discovered by other techniques, like motion detection and star dimming. Proper alignment between the stars seldom happens, and astronomers need to monitor large quantity of stars to detect the changes.

On the other hand, microlensing has high potential of detecting the planets from long distance that is 100 times more than other techniques. This technique helps astronomers to detect the Milky Way galaxy widely.

NASA's Kepler and K2 missions were successful in detecting the planets that reduce the brightness of host stars. The technique is good for distant study rather than close study of the planets. Microlensing is perfect in detecting outer planetary system with least sensitivity than its ability to detect closer planets.

A combination of microlensing and other techniques will give clear picture of the galaxy, stated Takahiro Sumi, team member at Osaka University in Japan.

For thorough study, Scientists team also gathered data from other micro lensing projects, including OGLE, Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, and MOA.

The whole research result was published in published in The Astrophysical Journal on Dec. 13.

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