US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — To date, more than 4,000 exoplanets have been discovered in the Milky Way, and they are all located on a relatively thin disk of the galactic plane. But now astrophysicists are faced with the first exception.
A year and a half after the start of its work, the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) telescope discovered an exoplanet orbiting a star located 5,870 light-years above the galactic plane.
The planet, designated LHS 1815b, is approximately 8.8% larger than the Earth and probably represents an incredibly dense rocky world – its mass exceeds the earth by approximately 8.7 times.
The thickness of the thin disk of the Milky Way is only a few hundred light years. It is surrounded by a thicker disk, in which there are much fewer stars – it is located between the thin disk and the galactic halo.
Almost all the stars discovered in this area are over 10 billion years old. Recent studies show that they appeared in the Milky Way as a result of a collision with another galaxy. These stars are poor in metals and move faster than the stars of the thin disk of the galaxy.
It was previously believed that stars from a thick disk may somehow impede the process of planet formation. This was due, inter alia, to their deprivation of metals. And, since no such stars were found, no differences between the stars of the thin and thick disc remained a mystery.
When astronomers noticed the LHS 1815b signature in the TESS data, the system was only 97 light-years from Earth.
Rocky planets the size of the Earth are in the minority among all exoplanets discovered, therefore they are of the greatest value for study, since it is in such places that scientists expect to find the most suitable living conditions.
Researchers expect to find atmosphere at LHS 1815b. This can probably be done after the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is expected in March 2021.
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