Scientists have observed a planet similar to Tatooine in a ground-based telescope


Using a ground-based telescope, a team of astronomers has described a rare exopalnet that orbits two stars at the same time. The discovery shows that observations with ground-based telescopes are still a relevant method of space exploration and can help in the search for other binary star planets.

Exoplanet Kepler-16b was first discovered about 10 years ago by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. It is located about 245 light years from Earth and is a multiple orbit planet, meaning it orbits two stars at the same time. Moreover, the stars themselves also revolve around each other, forming a binary system. Kepler-16b resembles the planet Tatooine from the Star Wars universe, on the surface of which you could see two sunsets at once.

Now an international team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Birmingham (UK) has observed Kepler-16b for the first time with a ground-based telescope. The results of their work are published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The researchers used the 193 cm telescope of the Haute-Provence Observatory in France and the Doppler method. This technology, which is also known as the “radial velocity method”, consists in the spectrometric measurement of the radial velocity of a star. A star with a planetary system moves in orbit around the center of mass of the entire system. This will cause the speed at which it is moving towards the Earth to change, resulting in a shift in the lines of the spectrum caused by the Doppler effect.

The detection of Kepler-16b shows that near-Earth exoplanets can also be observed with ground-based telescopes, which is often cheaper and more efficient than using spacecraft. In addition, the Doppler method allows you to describe all the planets in the system and measure their mass.

Now scientists plan to continue searching for previously unknown planets with a multiple orbit and finally understand where they came from. Planets usually form within a protoplanetary disk, a cloud of dust and gas around a young star. However, the presence of two stars likely prevents dust from clumping into planets within the protoplanetary disk.

Scientists believe that multiple-orbit planets could have formed away from binary stars, where their influence was weak, and then approached them. According to another version, modern ideas about the processes of planetary accretion require additions. Therefore, further studies of planets with multiple orbits will help answer this question.

Planet Today

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