NASA Telescope Identifies 7 Exoplanets Orbiting Star Hotter than the Sun


NASA announced Thursday that astronomers utilizing the agency’s decommissioned Kepler space telescope have identified a novel system comprising seven “scorching” planets that revolve around a distant star that is both larger and hotter than the sun.

The newly discovered planets were “bathed” and “sweltering” in radiant heat emanating from the primary star, which NASA described as “sun-like.” According to NASA, this star is 10% larger and 5% “hotter than the sun,” and its heat per unit area is greater than that of any planet in our solar system. 

Every planet is larger than Earth, with the two inner planets being marginally larger and the remaining five planets being approximately twice as vast as Earth. NASA stated that the inner planets are “likely rocky and may have thin atmospheres,” whereas the atmospheres of the five distant planets are anticipated to be dense.

The system has been designated the Kepler-385 system in honor of the retired telescope that assisted in the discovery of the planets. 

The telescope has uncovered a new catalog of planet candidates that includes this system. A comprehensive inventory of nearly 4,400 planet candidates comprises over 700 multi-planet systems. However, according to NASA, systems comprising more than six planet candidates are exceedingly uncommon. A planet candidate is an object that has been identified through telescope observation but lacks definitive confirmation of its existence. 

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A Comprehensive Compilation of Exoplanet Systems, Including the Remarkable Kepler-385 Discovery

NASA stated that the catalog’s objective was to “generate an exhaustive inventory that furnishes precise particulars regarding every system, thereby facilitating the realization of discoveries such as Kepler-385.”

Originally intended to detect planets similar to those discovered in the Kepler-385 system, the Kepler telescope ceased primary observations in 2013 and maintained an extended mission through 2018. It demonstrated that the number of planets in the galaxy exceeds that of stars and contributed to the formation of a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of each planet and its solar system.

“We have compiled the most precise inventory of Kepler planet candidates and their characteristics thus far,” stated Jack Lissauer, the primary author on the paper introducing the new catalog and a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. “NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered the majority of known exoplanets, and this new catalog will enable astronomers to learn more about their characteristics.”


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Source: CBS News

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