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Astronomers Pinpoint Two New 'Tatooine' Planetary Systems

12 Jan 2020, 14:42 UTC
Astronomers Pinpoint Two New 'Tatooine' Planetary Systems
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Astronomers announced Monday the first discovery made by NASA's TESS mission of a two-star planetary system. Led by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University, with other collaborators, the telescope satellite's finding marks the start of a much better understanding of the population of such planetary systems.On behalf of the international team of 60 investigators, the work was presented by researcher Veselin Kostov at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.The new planet, called TOI-1338 b, is about 6.9 times larger than Earth. It orbits its pair of host stars every 95 days. One of the stars is more massive and much brighter than the other, and as the planet orbits around it blocks some of the light from the brighter star. This transit allows astronomers to measure the size of the planet. The transit was first found in the TESS data by a high school student working at NASA with Kostov over the summer."Our analysis confirmed the transit was caused by a circumbinary planet and we were able to measure the planet's properties," said SDSU astronomer Jerome Orosz.A dozen such Tatooine-like planets--so named for the desert world in "Star Wars"-- were ...

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