Written by admin under News on Thursday, February 21, 2008
Tags: Astronomers, Astronomical Units, Galaxy, Jupiter, microlensing, Planets, Saturn, Solar System, Stars, Universe
New York – Astronomers along with amateur stargazers have found a solar system, which closely resembles that of our own, using an uncommon technique and say that it can be a novel and more productive technique to search the universe for planets and life.
They said that the new technique known as microlensing is very promising and can be used for many more stars with earth like Stars revolving around them.
Scott Gaudi, who led the study, said “We discovered a new solar system that appears similar to the solar system in which we live”
Using the technique of gravitational microlensing, a network of astronomers around the world from about 11 countries spotted the system that comprises two planets that are revolving around a star known as OGLE-2006-BLG-109L, which is about 1/2 the size of our sun and about 5,000 light years away.
“Microlensing technique works by making use of the gravity of the star as well as the Planet to bend and focus light rays from a Star in the background“, – said Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University. “If you are looking at a Star, and another goes by in the foreground will focus and bend light rays. This causes the magnification of the Star in the background.” – He added.
“Any planet revolving around the Star causes “a little bump” in the magnification effect,” Gaudi said.
The two planets in the new solar system are smaller than Saturn and Jupiter. The larger planet is slightly smaller than the Jupiter, with close to 70 percent of Jupiter’s mass. The smaller planet is about 30 percent of the mass of Jupiter, which makes it similar in size with Saturn.
Moreover, the two Planets are much nearer to their parent Star. The bigger planet is 2.3 astronomical units (AU) from its parent Star where as the smaller one is about 4.6 AUs from its Sun. In contrast to this in our solar system the Jupiter lies about 5.2 AUs from the sun while the Saturn is at a 9.5 Astronomical Units away from our sun.
The Sun i.e. the parent Star of the new solar system is dimmer than that of ours. However the temperatures in the two planets are similar to that of Jupiter and Saturn. This is because the planets are closer to their star than Jupiter and Saturn to our Sun.
The two planets are only the 5th and 6th identified using gravitational microlensing. “This is the first time a planet with Jupiter’s mass was identified where we had notable sensitivity to more planets. We may be able to find a full census of planetary systems in all over our galaxy,” – said Scott Gaudi.
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