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Five 'Hot Jupiters' Discovered In Extrasolar World

First Posted: Feb 16, 2016 11:48 AM EST

A team of astronomers have discovered five hot, Jupiter-like exoplanets, which are shedding new light on extrasolar worlds. In the latest study, the researchers describe the massive exoplanets as "hot Jupiters" since they are quite similar to Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, and they obit very close to their host stars.

The researchers made discovery with the Wide Angle Search for Planets-South while they were looking for planet-like transits. The WASP-South instrument has an array of eight cameras, which are observing selected regions of the southern sky, situated at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), outside Sutherland in South Africa. The five "hot Jupiters" were labelled WASP-119 b, WASP-124 b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP-133 b. The planets' masses varied from 0.3 to 1.2 the mass of the Jupiter and their orbital periods range from 2.17 to 5.75 days, according to the researchers.

"WASP-126b is the most interesting because it orbits the brightest star of the five," Coel Hellier, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "This means it can be a target for atmospheric characterization, deducing the composition and nature of the atmosphere from detailed study, for example with the Hubble Space Telescope or the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope."

Hellier claimed that they have discovered over 100 of these transiting exoplanets, but only five have of them have been announced so far.

The researchers noted that the newly found "hot Jupiters" are ideal samples that can be used to further investigate extrasolar worlds. In addition, the planets' size and proximity make it simple for astronomers to locate them, especially when they are passing in front of their parent stars.  

The findings of this study were published in the arXiv journal.

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