Astronomers have found a new exoplanet about three times more massive than Jupiter, orbiting a star 21,000 light years away from Earth. The massive exoplanet, designated MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb, was discovered by researchers led by Naoki Koshimoto of the Osaka University in Japan using the gravitational microlensing technique.
Gravitational microlensing is a method of detecting new extrasolar planets circling their parent stars relatively closely. The microlensing event was detected in May last year, using the 1.8 m MOA-II telescope at the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory in New Zealand.
Subsequent observations allowed detection of the new planet and to determine its basic parameters. The team found that MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb is a super-Jupiter planet with the mass of about 2.8 Jupiter masses.
Also Read : ESA’s Jupiter mission set to launch in 2022
The parent star is located in the galactic bulge. Its mass is estimated to be around 0.29 solar masses. MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb orbits its host at a distance of about 1.67 astronomical unit (AU), ‘Phys.org’ reported.
Radius of both the objects and orbital period of the planet are yet to be determined, researchers said. “Our analysis excludes the possibility that the host star is a G-dwarf, leading us to a robust conclusion that the planet MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb is a super-Jupiter mass planet orbiting an M or K-dwarf star likely located in the Galactic bulge,” the researchers said. The finding was published in the journal arXiv.org.