Catalan astronomers collaborating with NASA discover new sub-Neptune planet

Astronomic Observatory in Albanyà also partaking in asteroid creation research

New sub-Neptune planet discovered by the Astronomic Observatory in Albanyà
New sub-Neptune planet discovered by the Astronomic Observatory in Albanyà / ACN

ACN | Albanyà

June 29, 2022 11:14 AM

The Astronomic Observatory in Albanyà, located in northern Catalonia, has, in collaboration with NASA, discovered a new sub-Neptune planet. The finding is part of the research undertaken by the TESS TFOP SG1 team, led by the American space agency. 

The new planet is part of the TOI-1759 system and represents a step forward in the study of the formation of exoplanets close to smaller and colder stars than the sun.

A sub-Neptune is a "planet with a smaller radius than Neptune, but a larger mass, or a smaller mass but a larger radius than the planet," online media outlet EarthSky reports. 

Three years ago, the observatory located on top of the mountain in the northern Alt Empordà county joined the NASA-led team. Since then, astronomers and scientists working in the observatory have been working alongside international researchers to find new exoplanets and stars. 

All investigations are done through the Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) satellite and its main mission is to survey space to pinpoint new signals that could be exoplanets moving. 

The mission is led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and observes over 500,000 stars, those brightest and closest to the Earth, to search for these exoplanets. 

After receiving a signal from the TESS satellite, the Catalan-based astronomic observatory discovered the new sub-Neptune planet. 

The research also allows for improving the known characteristics of the TOI-1246 system, where there are four sub-Neptune planets orbiting a K-style star. This will help in the research of multi-planetary systems, which according to experts are proving to be very numerous in the immediate environment of the solar system.

In another investigation, the Catalan team has also taken part in the research of six Jupiter-size planets that orbit very close to their host stars. The goal of the study is to find radiation effects from the stars on these giant planets, something that cannot be researched in the Solar System.