NASA’s TESS spacecraft has discovered yet another planet — the 3rd one since it began its operations in 2018 — outside our solar system.
The planet, dubbed as HD21749b, orbits a bright dwarf star located “relatively” near – at a distance of 53 light years from it in a constellation named Reticulum.
Here are a few things that you should know about this discovery:
Mass & Size
Reportedly, the planet is 3 times the size of earth, which puts it into the sub-Neptune category. However, when it comes to mass, this newly-discovered celestial body weighs a lot more than our ‘home’ as it is an enormous 23 times as massive as the Earth.
You will be surprised to know that despite orbiting a bright, hot dwarf star, the surface of the planet is around 149 degree Celsius, a relatively lower figure, thus one can fairly assume that this one is ‘cool’.
Made of Gas
Experts suggest that HD 21749b is likely made of gas, similar to the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus, albeit a lot more dense, like water!
Period of Revolution
It takes a mere 36 days for this planet to complete a revolution around its star. So, a year here would be around 1/10th of a year on earth.
Notably, this is the the third exoplanet to be discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched in April of 2018.
The other two celestial bodies discovered before this one were:
1) “Super Earth” Pi Mensae b – which takes only 6.3 days to complete a revolution around its star
2) LHS 3844b – a rocky planet that whizzes past its star in only 11 hours!