Scientists have discovered a “super-Earth” that is believed to orbit one of the oldest stars in the Milky Way. The exoplanet was named because it is suspected to be about three times the mass of the earth, and its size is 50% larger than our planet.
The planet named TOI-561b was described in a new study, which was accepted for publication by the Astronomy Journal. In their research, astronomers discovered that although the planet has mass, its density is roughly the same as that of the earth.
The study mentioned: “We reported the discovery of TOI-561, which is a multi-planetary system in the thick disk of the Milky Way, which contains rocky ultra-short period planets (USP).”
The name of the planet comes from NASA’s planet-hunting mission to the Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in 2018. “TOI” in TOI-561b stands for the object of interest to TESS. The CNN report explains that it is located outside the solar system, in the thick galactic disk of the Milky Way. Because it is close to the host star, it takes less than half of the Earth days to complete an orbit around it.
Stephen Kane, an astrophysicist and co-author of the University of California, Riverside, said in a statement: “Each day on the earth, the earth orbits its star twice.” The researchers used Hawaii’s WM. The Keck Observatory determined the mass, radius and density of the planet.
This close proximity of the “super-Earth” causes the average surface temperature of the planet to exceed 2,000 Kelvin, or 3,140 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, TOI-561b is too hot to live. Although astronomers know that rocky planets and their stars form a 10 billion-year-old system, they still want to know whether the planet has contained life at any time in the past.
Lead research author Lauren Weiss said in a statement: “TOI-561b is one of the oldest rocky planets ever discovered.” “Its existence shows that since its birth 14 billion years ago, The universe has been forming rocky planets.” In contrast, our sun is only 4.5 billion years old.
It was found that this older planet is less dense than the recently formed planet. This is because there were not so many heavy elements in the universe at that time. These elements are ultimately created by stars that meet in supernovae.
This study highlights the other two planets orbiting the star, both of which may be gaseous and larger than TOI-561b.