Ten new exo-planets – one of them orbiting a distant star tens-of-millions years old – were discovered by an international team that included astrophysicists from Tel Aviv University, it was announced on Tuesday.
The discovery was made public at the Second CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and Transits) Symposium held in Marseille, France, where data gathered by a sophisticated satellite was disseminated.
Other discoveries – detectable when the exo-planets, outside of our solar system, pass in front of their stars – were twin planets the size of Neptune and a rare world that resembles Saturn.
TAU Prof. Zvi Mazeh is a full partner on the team, even though Israel was not a partner in financing the building and dispatch of the satellite that gathered the data. Mazeh was recognized for his contribution to analyzing the exo-planet observations.
Every planet that is discovered is a new world and contains a piece of information to solve the puzzle of creation and development of planets, said Mazeh.
The 10 new planets include:
CoRoT-16b: A puffed-up, giant planet with half the mass of Jupiter, but its full radius. It orbits in 5.3 days around a mature sun-like star with an age of 6 billion years. The orbit of this planet is highly elongated, which is rare for old, close-in planets.
CoRoT-17b: A giant planet orbiting a star with an age of 10 billion years – or twice as old as our sun. It orbits in 3.7 days, is 2.4 times Jupiter’s mass and has twice the density.
CoRoT-18b: Unlike the previous CoRoT planets, this one orbits a young star that is a mere 600 million years old. The planet has a size 1.4 times that of Jupiter but 3.5 times its mass. It also has twice its density.
CoRoT-19b: A planet with the same mass as Jupiter but 1.5 times its size. It has a density much less than that of Saturn, the least dense planet in our solar system.
CoRoT-20b: A planet in an unusual orbit of 9.2 days.
CoRoT-20b is special because it has a very elongated orbit that may be
related to its extremely high density, scientists said. It has a density
twice that of Mars even though it is a giant gaseous planet.
CoRoT-21b: A giant gas planet 1.3 times the size of Jupiter, and 2.5
times Jupiter’s mass. This is one of the faintest CoRoT stars for which a
planet mass has been determined, according to researchers. Its
measurements required observations with the Keck 10m telescope in
Hawaii, the largest telescope in the world.
CoRoT-22b*: This planet has a radius that’s 0.74 of Saturn. Its mass has
yet to be determined precisely, but it is less than half that of
CoRoT-23b: Described as a “hot Jupiter,” it has a 3.6-day orbit.
CoRoT-24b and 24c*: A system of two transiting planets with orbits of
5.1 and 11.8 days. One is equal to the size of Neptune, while the other
is 1.4 times as large.