Scientists from University of Hawaii has developed a new technology through which scientists will be able to detect quickly a transiting planet with two suns.
Termed circumbinary planets orbit around a pair of stars. Though these stars have been a part of our fiction till scientists from NASA has discovered its presence. Thanks to NASA’s Kepler and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS for discovering 14 stars so far.
Generally, Kepler and TESS detect planets through transit method. In this method, astronomers measure the little spot of a star as it passes its host star, as it blocks some of the starlight when it passes. But it was really challenging for the scientists when there are two host stars.
There were other challenges such as, the orbital periods of circumbinary planets are much longer than any binary planet. As the scientists need three transits of any star, they need to wait for a longer time.
It was very problematic to observe three transits of a planet with TESS because it only observes one portion of the sky for only 27 days and then it starts observing other portions of sky.
But scientists have propounded a new technique through which they will be able to detect circumbinary planets with TESS as long as a planet finishes its transition around its host stars within 27 days.
Now the astronomers have successfully found their first circumbinary planet through their technique. The target binary was catalogued as TIC 172900988 in TESS’s data and has been observed by a single sector of TESS. TESS shows the light curve of a planet and its two transits around its host stars, separated by just five days.
The scientist’s technique has reduced the time period of the planet’s orbit which takes almost 200 days with traditional transit method. But now they have reduced the time to five days and have also proved that TESS is able to detect circumbinary planets.
The scientists have agreed that the new planet is the proof of the validity, applicability and success of the new technique.