Closely following on the heels of Kepler 452B, scientists have now found another Earth-like planet. About two times the mass of Jupiter and 100 light-years away from the Earth, this planet resembles other planets of our Sun’s solar system, reports Hindustan Times
The planet, known as 51 Eridani b, orbits its host star at about 13 times the Earth-Sun distance which is equivalent to that between Saturn and Uranus in our solar system. Gemini Observatory’s new Planet Imager (GPI) was used by astronomers to look into the exoplanet (a planet which orbits a star outside the solar system).
Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University who led the construction of the GPI said:
“Many of the exoplanets astronomers have imaged before have atmospheres that look like very cool stars. This one looks like a planet.”
Chris Davis, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) Astronomy Division program officer who oversees Gemini Observatory funding, said:
“The exoplanet surveys now possible with Gemini will undoubtedly lead to a far better understanding of the numbers of gas giants orbiting neighboring stars, the characteristics of their atmospheres, and ultimately the way in which giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn are formed.”
Their recent discovery is a part of the team’s broader effort to find and characterize new planets, known as the GPI Exoplanet Survey (GPIES).