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Exoplanet with longest year discovered

Posted on Tuesday, 22 July, 2014 | Comment icon 9 comments

The planet has an orbital period comparable to that of Mars. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers have identified an extrasolar planet that takes 708 days to complete one orbit of its star.
Named Kepler421-b, the distant world is located approximately 1,040 light years away and was discovered using observations from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

At a distance of 177 million kilometers from its parent star, which is much cooler than the sun, the planet is around the size of Uranus and is believed to see temperatures of around -93C.

With an orbital period of 708 days the planet orbits further from its star than the Earth does from the sun but is closer to it than Mars, which at a distance of 228 million kilometers takes 780 days to complete one circuit.

"Finding Kepler-421b was a stroke of luck," said study author David Kipping. "The farther a planet is from its star, the less likely it is to transit the star from Earth's point of view. It has to line up just right."

Source: BBC News | Comments (9)

Tags: Extrasolar Planet, Exoplanet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by shrooma on 22 July, 2014, 15:27
QUOTE- "The farther a planet is from its star, the less likely it is to transit the star from Earth's point of view. It has to line up just right." . i'd have thought it was the plane that counted, not the distance? if you're viewing it from the top down, it won't transit, but if you view it along the orbital plane, it would.... .
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 22 July, 2014, 15:43
The easiest way for me to explain this is with a diagram. In this diagram we are viewing a solar system side on (and obviously not to scale). Both planet A and planet B orbit their star with the same inclination (i.e. they orbit in the same plane). However A, being closer to the star will transit from the point of view of an observer from Earth whereas B won't.
Comment icon #3 Posted by shrooma on 22 July, 2014, 16:36
. ta Waspie!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Calibeliever on 22 July, 2014, 17:30
I think "less likely" just means at any particular time, because it only comes around every 708 days.
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer on 22 July, 2014, 17:59
But wouldn't Earth and planet A be on the same plane?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 22 July, 2014, 18:27
Their orbital planes are not the same. You could argue that they are in the same orbital plane ONLY when the planet is transiting the star (and half an orbit later when the planet is behind the star from Earth's pov). Look at the diagram. The line on which I have drawn planets A and B represents the orbital plane of the planets. It is inclined with respect to the Earth. When A transits the star it, the star and the Earth are all in a straight line, at other times they are not. Planet B is in the same orbital plane as planet A but, because it is further from the star it always passes abov... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer on 22 July, 2014, 18:38
Thanks Waspie, what I should have said tat the two are on the same geometric plane we we can see it and only then. I didn't mean to infer Earth and plant A orbitted at the same plane realative to their suns.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Giggling Panzer on 22 July, 2014, 21:47
Exoplanets, fascinating stuff.

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