It seems like the Universe itself is sometimes waiting for space explorers while smiling at them. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of NASA launched only two years ago, and it already proves to be a very handy space tool when it comes to exoplanets.
NASA itself reveals that by using TESS, an international team of astronomers managed to discover three hot exoplanets larger than Earth and orbiting the TOI 451 star.
400 light-years away
TOI 451 is located about 400 light-years away from us, and its surrounding planets were discovered in images taken by TESS between October and December 2018.
Elisabeth Newton, leader of the research and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, declared:
This system checks a lot of boxes for astronomers,
It’s only 120 million years old and just 400 light-years away, allowing detailed observations of this young planetary system. And because there are three planets between two and four times Earth’s size, they make especially promising targets for testing theories about how planetary atmospheres evolve.
The TOI 451 star is also known as CD-38 1467, and it’s located in the Eridanus constellation. Despite having 95% of our Sun’s mass, TOI 451 is 12% smaller, cooler, and it emits 35% less energy. The star also rotates once every 5.1 days, meaning that it’s over five times faster than the Sun.
The chances are zero for any known life form to exist on any of the planets that are orbiting the TOI 451 star, and the main reason is represented by the hellish temperatures of those space objects. The main reason why the exoplanets are so hot is that they are located very close to their host star, as even the most distant planets are orbiting the TOI 451 star closer than Mercury’s approach to the Sun.
NASA also reveals a few interesting traits about the exoplanets that revolve around TOI 451. The TOI 451 b planet completes a full orbit in 1.9 days, and it has a mass between two and 12 times that of Earth. TOI 451 c, on the other hand, completes its orbit in 9.2 days, and it holds somewhere between three and 16 Earth masses. TOI 451 d is the farthest planet from the host star, as it completes its full orbit in 16 days, and it has between four and 19 Earth masses.
The new findings were published in The Astronomical Journal.