A signal that has been originally detected by the Kepler spacecraft has just been validated as an exoplanet. For this achievement, an astronomical spectrograph was used called the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) – this was built by a Penn State team.
The HPF provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from low-mass stars that are nearby. Astronomers used the device to validate the candidate planet, and they did this by excluding all the possibilities of contaminating signals to the highest level of probability.
The exciting details of this discovery have been published in the Astronomical Journal.
The planet is 100 light-years away from Earth
Official data reveals that the planet is called G 9-40b, and it’s about twice the size of our planet.
It’s closer in size to Neptune, and it orbits its low-mass host star – an M dwarf star which is located only about 100 light-years from Earth.
Kepler was able to detect the planet by observing a dip present in the host’s star’s light as the planet transited the star during its orbit.
The trip is completed every six Earth days. It’s been also revealed that the signal has been validated using spectroscopic observations from the HPF and ruling out the possibility of a close stellar or substellar binary companion.
“G 9-40b is amongst the top twenty closest transiting planets known, which makes this discovery really exciting,” said Guðmundur Stefánsson, lead author of the paper, as cited by Phys.org.
G 9-40b is an excellent candidate exoplanet to analyze
He continued and said that “Further, due to its large transit depth, G 9-40b is an excellent candidate exoplanet to study its atmospheric composition with future space telescopes.”
It’s been exciting for experts to see the very first results of the HPF survey coming out – this was built to enable maximum precision measurements to discover and confirm planets.
This discovery comes following another interesting finding regarding a hot Jupiter’s destruction.