NASA’s K2 space telescope has discovered two small gas giant planets orbiting bright stars larger than the Sun. The two gas giants were discovered by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) while going through K2 data.
The findings were also validated by a number of ground-based telescopes on the basis of photometric and spectroscopic observations.
” We report the discovery of 2 worlds transiting the brilliant stars HD 89345 in K2 Project 14 and HD 286123 in K2 Project 13,” the research team noted in a statement.
Located 413 light years away, HD 89345 is almost 5.3 billion years old. It is of the spectral type G5V-G6V and has an effective temperature of 5,609 degrees Kelvin. The star is around 66 percent larger and 22 percent more massive than the Sun. The newly discovered planet orbiting it, HD 89345 b, is located in an orbit just 0.11 AU away from the star. The planet circles the star every 11.8 days. The low-density gas giant, which has 0.1 Jupiter masses and a radius of 0.61 Jupiter radii, is viewed by scientists as a warm “sub-Saturn” planet.
HD 286123 is 6.5-billion years old and is located 434 light years away. It is of the spectral type F9V-G0V. The star in question is eight percent more massive than the Sun with 1.25 solar radii. It has an effective temperature of 5,855 degrees Kelvin. The planet orbiting it, HD 286123 b, has a radius of 1.08 Jupiter radii, is located in a close orbit around its parent star, located about 0.1 AU from the star. It is around 60 percent less massive than Jupiter. It has an orbital period of 11.2 days. Astronomers consider the newly discovered planet as a warm, low-mass, low-density Jupiter-type planet.
According to the research team, led by Liang Yu, both the stars make good targets for study of their atmospheres via transit spectroscopy.
The study findings have been published in the journal Earth and Planetary Astrophysics.