Astronomers find an analogue of Tatooine from “Star Wars”

An international team of astronomers has announced the discovery of a second exoplanet in the TOI-1338 system, which consists of two stars. This is only the second such case in the history of science.

Circumbinary system in the artist’s image. Source: NASA / JPL-Caltech / R. Hurt

The vast majority of exoplanets found to date orbit a single star. At the same time, astronomers have managed to find several worlds with multiple orbits that orbit several stars at once. Such systems are sometimes called circumbinary, and their exoplanets are often compared to the famous Tatooine from Star Wars

One of these systems is designated TOI-1338. It consists of a star of spectral Class F and a red dwarf located at a distance of 1300 light-years from Earth. In 2019, the TESS telescope was able to record transits of an exoplanet orbiting them. Its radius is 6.9, and its mass is 33 times that of Earth. The exoplanet makes one orbit around the common center of gravity of the system in 95 days.

As part of a new study, an international team of scientists analyzed the radial velocity of TOI-1338. Their goal was to clarify the mass of the exoplanet found by TESS. Instead, the researchers found fluctuations corresponding to the presence of another body in this system. Its mass is 65 times the mass of the Earth (about 20% of the mass of Jupiter), and the orbital period is 215 days.

A collage dedicated to the discovery of a new exoplanet in the TOI-1338 system. Source: Amanda Smith / University of Birmingham

To date, this is only the second case of detection of a circumbinary system in which there is more than one exoplanet. So the researchers intend to continue studying TOI-1338 to more accurately determine its characteristics, as well as to check whether there are other, still undiscovered exoplanets in this system.

According to

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