web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Kids Discover New Planet

Bob Eklund Looking Up

Bob Eklund
Looking Up

Note: Press release is from Keele University

A group of teenagers on work experience at Keele University in Staffordshire, England, may have discovered a new planet.

Twenty four students in years 10, 11 and 12, boys and girls aged 15 to 17, from local schools and colleges came together for the week in the Lennard-Jones building at Keele to work on a research project that aimed to discover exoplanets—planets that orbit other stars—and to characterize eclipsing stellar binary systems.

The highlight of their week at Keele has been the discovery of at least one new strong exoplanetary candidate—a Neptune-sized planet in a 19-day orbit around a Sun-like star. The potential planet orbits a star, much like the Sun, that is about 800 light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. The star was previously an anonymous object, about 100 times fainter than you could see with the naked eye.

The students carefully examined thousands of light curves: precise measurements of stellar brightness taken every 30 minutes over the course of 75 days by NASA’s Kepler satellite observatory. In teams, they characterized the light curves, identified eclipsing binary systems and searched for the elusive transit signals of orbiting exoplanets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.