WE are only six weeks away from 2022 and Nasa has unraveled distant and mysterious worlds.
The US space agency has discovered 10 exoplanets since the start of the year – and shows no signs of slowing down.
Exoplanets are planets outside our Solar System. Thousands have been discovered since the 1980s.
As well as being potential sites for extraterrestrial life, they offer the opportunity to better understand the evolution of the universe.
According to Nasa’s exoplanet databaseOf the ten exoplanets found this year, six are larger than Jupiter.
These include HD 69123 b, which is three times the size of the gas giant and lies 245 light-years from Earth.
According to Nasa, it orbits a K-type star and takes more than three years to complete each trip around its host.
Several smaller exoplanets have also been unearthed by astronomers.
These include LTT 1445 A c, a potentially rocky world half the size of Earth.
It will take a little over three days to complete the orbit of its host, an M-type star about 22 light-years away.
To date, Nasa has cataloged nearly 5,000 exoplanets scattered across 3,600 near and far star systems.
They come in all shapes and sizes, including gas giants, Neptune-like ice worlds, and so-called Super-Earths.
Super-Earths, such as LTT 1445 A c, are more massive than our planet, less than the ice giants Uranus and Neptune.
The first planet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star was confirmed in 1995, and the technology to find them has made great strides since.
Many of the exoplanets in Nasa’s database have been discovered by the Kepler and TESS space telescopes.
They are specifically designed to explore distant worlds by analyzing stars, looking for the “wink” of the story in the starlight produced as they are relayed by an orbiting planet.
“Right now we know, for the first time, that minor planets are very common,” said Sara Seager, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a pioneer in exoplanet research.
“It’s a phenomenon. We had no way of knowing that before Kepler. We’ll just say colloquially: They’re everywhere.”
In other news, a British woman was tell of her horror after scammers used photos of a “silver fox” politician to defraud her of £80,000.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8380200/nasa-lost-planets-bigger-jupiter/ Nasa discovers 10 NEW ‘lost’ planets – and one bigger than Jupiter