Two new planets were discovered by a group of Brazilian astronomers around a star similar to the sun known as HIP 68468.
As reported by Brazil’s G1 news website, the new two planets, named as “super Neptune” and “super Earth”, are the first to discover by the Brazilian astronomers since the discovery of a planet akin to Jupiter in 2015.
A professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, astronomer Jorge Melendez said one goal of the team was to compare solar system with other planetary system. He added that the planetary environment around HIP 68468 is quite separate from the system that includes Earth.
While the mass of the newly discovered planets was similar to that of Earth’s and Neptune’s, the planets rotate very close to their star, which suggests they may have migrated from a more exterior to a more interior region of their planetary system.
Melendez said research indicates that the star HIP 68468 has “swallowed” a planet, due to the presence of high levels of lithium, an element that is usually abundant in planets, not stars.
Super Neptune, called HIP 68468c has a mass that is 50% greater than the planet Neptune. But while our Neptune is far from the sun (30 times the distance between the Earth and Sun), the orbit of the new planet is only 70 per cent of the Earth-Sun distance. Super Earth, or HIP 68468b, has a mass that is three times larger than Earth’s, and its orbit is barely 3 per cent of the distance from Earth to the Sun. That means that it is “practically stuck to its star,” HIP 68468, which is 6 billion years old and some 300 light years away from Earth. G1 has said.
The discovery was made at the European Southern Observatory in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert.