NASA Probe Discovers New Planet

SCI TECH

NASA’s latest planet hunting probe has discovered a new world outside our solar system, orbiting a dwarf star 53 light years away. This is the third new planet confirmed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) since its launch in April last year.

The planet, named HD 21749b, orbits a bright, nearby dwarf star about 53 light years away, in the constellation Reticulum, and appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by TESS.

HD 21749b journeys around its star in a relatively leisurely 36 days, compared to the two other planets Pi Mensae b, a “super-Earth” with a 6.3-day orbit, and LHS 3844b, a rocky world that speeds around its star in just 11 hours. All three planets were discovered in the first three months of TESS observations.

The surface of the new planet is likely around 300 degrees Fahrenheit  relatively cool, given its proximity to its star, which is almost as bright as the sun. “It’s the coolest small planet that we know of around a star this bright,” said Diana Dragomir, a postdoc in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, who led the discovery.