Jupiter has an identical twin about 17,000 light-yrs away. Know how it’s discovered


The 5th planet in our solar system – the Jupitar has a near-identical twin. And the exoplanet, referred to as K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, orbits its star at a similar distance from its star as Jupiter is from the Sun. The study has been published as a preprint on ArXiv.org and submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The exoplanet is about 17,000 light-years from the Earth. And to spot the planet, scientists used Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and a method known as gravitational microlensing. Data gathered by Kepler in 2016 was key to the detection.

“This discovery was made using a space telescope that was not designed for microlensing observations and, in many ways, is highly sub-optimal for such science,” the scientists, led by PhD student David Specht from the University of Manchester, wrote in the paper. “Nonetheless, it has yielded a direct planet-mass measurement of high precision, largely thanks to uninterrupted high observing cadence that is facilitated by observing from space.”

K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb is “the first bound microlensing exoplanet to be discovered from space-based data,” the scientists say. Indeed, Kepler managed to spot over 2,700 confirmed exoplanets during its illustrious nine-year career (the mission ended in 2018), but this marks the first time that Kepler, or any space-based telescope for that matter, managed to spot an extrasolar planet through a microlensing event.

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