24/7 Space News
Planet orbiting 2 stars discovered using new technique
Only the second such system found with 2 planets
Planet orbiting 2 stars discovered using new technique
by Staff Writers
Columbus OH (SPX) Jun 13, 2023

An international team of astronomers is the first to apply an old technique to discover a new type of planet that orbits two stars - what is known as a circumbinary planet. As an added bonus, researchers found a second planet that is orbiting the same two stars, which is only the second confirmed multi-planet circumbinary system found to date. The study was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Circumbinary planets were once relegated to only science fiction, but thanks to data collected from NASA's Kepler mission, astronomers now know that multiple star systems are more common than previously thought. While many may not have planets of their own, roughly half the stars in the sky are made up of double, triple or quaternary formations. The other half are single stars like our sun, yet despite their quantity, scientists understand very little about the planets that form around multiple star systems.

"When a planet orbits two stars, it can be a bit more complicated to find because both of its stars are also moving through space," said David Martin, co-author of the study and NASA Sagan Fellow in astronomy at The Ohio State University. "So how we can detect these stars' exoplanets, and the way in which they are formed, are all quite different."

The newly discovered system is called TOI-1338/BEBOP-1 for the planetary detection survey Binaries Escorted by Orbiting Planets, the team initiated to increase the number of known circumbinary planets. To date, it is only the second binary star system known to host multiple planets ever confirmed. Only 12 circumbinary planet systems have ever been discovered.

At the heart of their finding, the study revealed a large gas giant, which has an orbital period around the two stars of 215 days.

But what makes their discovery so special, Martin said, is how the planet was located. Of the more than 5,000 worlds that astronomers have found since the first exoplanet was discovered in 1995, most have been tracked down using a technique called the transit method. Widely considered to be the most effective way of proving the existence of other worlds, the method allows astronomers to indirectly detect a planet by measuring a dip in the brightness of light when a planet crosses between a star and an observer on Earth.

However, in this study, researchers detail the first-ever detection of a known circumbinary planet solely using observations made with the radial velocities method, an approach that relies on measuring the gravitational shifts planets exert on their host stars over time. It's the same approach used to find the 1995 exoplanet, now known as Dimidium.

"Whereas people were previously able to find planets around single stars using radial velocities pretty easily, this technique was not being successfully used to search for binaries," said Martin.

It's because radial velocities, while successful at detecting planets around single stars, have historically struggled to find planets in binaries where there are multiple sets of stellar spectra, he said. Yet by targeting binaries where one star is much brighter than the other, the BEBOP program could soon help find many more, said Martin.

Previous research has shown that radial velocities could be used to locate a planetary system astronomers were already aware of called Kepler-16, but this study advances that work by discovering a brand new planet.

The discovery could also bode well for scientists devoted to looking for life on other planets, as according to the study, the inner planet already found in this binary system would be a prime candidate for atmospheric study by the James Webb Space Telescope. Atmospheric characterizations search for proof of biological activity and assess the likelihood of a planet having conditions conducive to life as humans on Earth know it.

If NASA does choose to turn Webb's eye toward the planet in this study, it would be the first system of its kind amenable to atmospheric investigation, Martin said. "If we are to unveil the mysteries and intricacies behind circumbinary planets, our discovery provides a new hope," he said.

Research Report:Radial-velocity discovery of a second planet in the TOI-1338/BEBOP-1 circumbinary system

Related Links
Ohio State University
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Astronomers observe giant tails of helium escaping Jupiter-like planet
Austin TX (SPX) Jun 09, 2023
A team of astronomers has used observations from the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory to discover some of the longest tails of gas yet observed escaping a planet. The planet, HAT-P-32b, is nearly twice the size of Jupiter and losing its atmosphere through dramatic jets of helium unfurling before and behind it as it travels through space. These tails are more than 50 times the length of the planet's radius. The discovery is published in the jo ... read more

Virgin Galactic's use of the 'Overview Effect' to promote space tourism is a terrible irony

Diving into practice

Schools, museums, libraries can apply to receive artifacts from NASA

Catastrophic failure assessment of sealed cabin for ultra large manned spacecraft

Falcon 9 deploys 53 Starlink satellites on SpaceX's 40th launch of the year

Astrobotic and Westinghouse team to power outer space

Final launch of Europe's Ariane 5 rocket postponed

Spanish rocket launch aborted due to last-minute glitch

Curiosity captures Morning and Afternoon on Mars

Artificial photosynthesis for real oxygen

A Geologist in a Rock Shop: Sols 3859-3860

It easier ever view Mars landscapes in high resolution

Tianzhou 5 reconnects with Tiangong space station

China questions whether there is a new moon race afoot

Three Chinese astronauts return safely to Earth

Scientific experimental samples brought back to Earth, delivered to scientists

Satellite Internet fills holes in global connectivity, but cost remains an issue

Satellite swarms for science 'grow up' at NASA Ames

CNES, E-Space complete next-generation low earth orbit constellation study

HawkEye 360's Cluster 7 begins operation in record time

NASA laser communications terminal delivered for Artemis II lunar mission

Aerospacelab's Gregoire satellite launched on Spacex's Falcon 9 Via Exolaunch

Spire enables optical inter-satellite links with reduced data latency

China conducts extravehicular radiation biological exposure experiment on space station

Gemini North detects multiple heavier elements in atmosphere of hot Exoplanet

Planet orbiting 2 stars discovered using new technique

Photosynthesis, key to life on Earth, starts with a single photon

Phosphate, a key building block of life, found on Saturn's moon Enceladus

Juno captures lightning bolts above Jupiter's north pole

ASU study: Jupiter's moon Europa may have had a slow evolution

Colorful Kuiper Belt puzzle solved by UH researchers

Juice deployments complete: final form for Jupiter

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.