Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit:

Citizen astronomers discover new planet that NASA algorithms missed

Keen eyes have located a new planet twice the size of Earth.
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

NASA

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope might not be doing much anymore, but discoveries are still being made thanks to the data it left behind. By analyzing its historical records, and crowdsourcing help from volunteer astronomers, a citizen team has discovered a new planet roughly twice the size of Earth. The planet, known as K2-288Bb, could be rocky, or gas-rich, similar to Neptune. Its discovery is particularly exciting because the planet's size (just slightly smaller than Neptune) is so rare among those beyond our solar system – known as exoplanets.

K2-288Bb is located 226 light years away, in the constellation Taurus and part of a stellar system which contains two dim stars roughly 5.1 billion miles apart. One of the stars is half as large as the sun, the other around one-third the size of the sun. The research team found that the new planet orbits the smaller star every 3.1 days. According to the discovery's supporting paper, this star is theoretically capable of sustaining biospheres with the same productivity as Earth.

The planet was discovered largely because of volunteers examining light-curve data from the Kepler with their own eyes, rather than via software. Volunteer scientists from a citizen program named Exoplanet Explorers were able to spot the planet that software algorithms had missed. Adina Feinstein, the study's lead author, said "it took the keen eyes of citizen scientists to make this extremely valuable find and point us to it."

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
'Avatar: The Last Airbender' creators leave Netflix's live-action series

'Avatar: The Last Airbender' creators leave Netflix's live-action series

View
Puerto Rico’s Arecibo radio telescope suffers serious damage

Puerto Rico’s Arecibo radio telescope suffers serious damage

View
A 'GoldenEye 007' fan remake is dead after a cease and desist demand

A 'GoldenEye 007' fan remake is dead after a cease and desist demand

View
You can pre-order Microsoft's Surface Duo foldable phone today

You can pre-order Microsoft's Surface Duo foldable phone today

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr