Koi 4878 is one of the most similar exoplanets to the Earth. It was primarily detected by Kepler’s mission. So, let’s have a look at some of the significant features of this planet, and uncover why this planet is most intrigued by the scientists.

Location from the Earth:

It is located around 1075 light years away from Earth. This planet is quite similar to Earth, with a 98% Earth Similarity Index rating if confirmed. It takes about 449 Earth days for KOI-4878.01 to complete one orbit around its star, and it’s likely in the star’s habitable zone.

High Earth Similarity to the Earth:

KOI-4878.01 stands out with a remarkable Earth Similarity Index of 98%, the highest ever recorded. While its characteristics closely resemble those of Earth, it’s important to note that its status as an Earth analog remains unconfirmed. The planet completes a full orbit around its host star every 449 Earth days. This star, an F-type main-sequence star, is slightly larger (about 5%) than our Sun and has a temperature of roughly 6031 K. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that a high Earth Similarity Index doesn’t guarantee habitability.

Koi-4878.01 Temperature:

Its mass falls within the range of 0.4 to 3.0 Earth masses, with a probable estimate of around 0.99 Earth masses. The planet has a slightly larger radius (1.04) and maintains an equilibrium temperature of 256 K (-16.5 °C; 2.3 °F), remarkably close to Earth’s equilibrium temperature of 255 K (-18 °C; -1 °F). If its atmosphere resembles Earth’s, KOI-4878.01 would likely experience an average surface of 291 K (17.85°C; 64.13 °F), slightly warmer than Earth’s average.

Comparison with Earth (Quick Facts, Highlighting Exoplanet’s)

  • Orbital period 449.01499
  • Mass ~0.99
  • Radius 1.04
  • Semi-major axis 1.12 AU
  • Equilibrium temperature 256 K (-16.5 °C; 2.3 °F)

The Detection of Koi 4878  Through Kepler Mission:

Before the Kepler mission began, there was optimism about identifying a few potential Earth-like planets. However, during its primary mission from May 2009 to May 2013, Kepler discovered a total of 2,345 confirmed exoplanets (and the count continues), but none of them could be classified as true Earth analogs. Most of the planets Kepler found during its primary mission were larger and had short orbits around stars smaller than our Sun. These types of planets are not only more common than Earth-like ones but are also easier to detect.

The closest Kepler came to Earth-like discoveries were Kepler 186f and Kepler 442b. Regrettably, these planets are somewhat larger than Earth, rotate slowly or are tidally locked, and orbit dim M and K type stars, respectively. While they might have habitable conditions, they don’t closely resemble Earth.

The Prior Names of Koi 4878 in the Initial Stages of its Discovery:

The Kepler Input Catalog (KIC) included KOI-4878 and designated it as KIC-11804437 when selecting the star field for observation. Researchers estimated KOI-4878 to possess an effective temperature of approximately 6031 K, making it hotter than the Sun. This temperature classification classifies it as a late F-type star. They calculated its radius to be about 1.068 times that of the Sun, and its mass was roughly equivalent to 0.972 times that of the Sun. These parameters resulted in an estimated luminosity approximately 1.35 times that of the Sun, and scientists estimated the star to be situated at a distance of around 1,200 light years away.

Calculation of Effective Stellar Flux:

By integrating the results from Kepler’s analysis with the KIC’s host star property estimates, it becomes possible to deduce the characteristics of KOI-4878.01. Assuming the orbital period equals the time between transits, the semimajor axis of KOI-4878.01’s orbit would be approximately 1.137 +0.053/-0.040 astronomical units (AU), with the uncertainty primarily driven by the host star’s mass uncertainty.

When we combine this value with the estimated brightness of KOI-4878, we calculate that the effective stellar flux received by this planet candidate (Seff) is strikingly similar to Earth’s at 1.05, making it very Earth-like in this aspect. Considering the depth of the transit and KOI-4878’s estimated size, the exoplanet would likely have a radius around 1.04 +0.38/-0.14 times that of Earth.

How is KOI-4878.01 compared to Earth?

KOI-4878.01 holds a remarkable Earth Similarity Index of 98%, marking it as the most Earth-like exoplanet discovered to date.

Is Koi 5715.01 real?

The planet KOI 5715.01, is among a select group of 24 ‘superhabitable’ planets within our galaxy. The astronomers have pinpointed as potentially more suitable for life as we understand it compared to Earth.

What is the closest habitable planet to Earth?

The closest extrasolar planets to Earth are Proxima Centauri b, c, and d, all situated at a distance of 4.22 light years away. Among them, Proxima b is the nearest potentially habitable planet to Earth.

Is KOI-4878 real?

KOI-4878.01, an exoplanet candidate, revolves around the F-type main-sequence star KOI-4878. If its existence is verified, it would stand as one of the most Earth-like planets ever discovered.

Can we live on koi planet?

KOI-314c exhibits an exceptionally low density when compared to Earth, being just 30 percent denser than water. Consequently, its surface would not support walking, and it is far too hot for human habitation.

What’s Next?

Future observations of KOI-4878 will assist astronomers in refining its characteristics. However, confirming KOI-4878.01 as a planet would greatly benefit from additional transit observations. Unfortunately, ground observatories are unlikely to obtain the necessary data with the required precision. It is due to the relatively small brightness change of just 94 ppm during a 13-hour transit.

While NASA’s Hubble could potentially provide the needed data, making a case for observing KOI-4878. It is among the thousands of challenging Kepler planet candidates. Because these telescopes are in high demand for various astronomical tasks!

The exoplanet, TOI-3757 b is a gas giant planet that revolves around a K-type star. The mass of this exoplanet is about 0.27 times more than that of Jupiter and therefore it completes one circle around its star in just 3.4 days. If we talk about its distance, then it is located at approximately 0.038 AU from its K-type star, approx. Furthermore, if we talk about its discovery, then it was in 2022. 

This planet is unique because it has an incredibly low density, similar to that of a marshmallow. Even though red dwarf stars are cooler than stars like our Sun, they can still be very active and produce strong flares that could potentially strip away a planet’s atmosphere.

Planetary scientists suggested two ideas for the planet’s marshmallow-like atmosphere:

Gas giants like Jupiter initially form from rocky cores that are several times more massive than Earth. As the solar system takes shape, these central cores attract surrounding gas. However, in the case of TOI-3757 b, which orbits a red dwarf star with fewer heavy elements than other similar stars, the rocky core formation may have been slower. This delayed the process of accumulating the surrounding gas.

As a result, TOI-3757 b ended up with a less dense and fluffier atmosphere compared to other gas giants like Jupiter that orbit stars with more heavy elements. TOI-3757’s orbit around its red dwarf star could be elliptical.

NOIRLab explains:

“There are times it gets closer to its star than at other times, resulting in substantial excess heating that can cause the planet’s atmosphere to bloat”

The Reason Behind the Low Density of TOI-3757 b:

The exoplanet, TOI-3757 b, is very interesting to astronomers because it possesses unique and distinct characteristics. This makes it one of the relatively few gas giants (around 10 in total) found orbiting M dwarf stars.

What’s particularly intriguing about TOI-3757 b is its low density, which is approximately 0.27 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³). The low density provides a valuable chance to study planet formation theories.

Two hypotheses are put forth to explain this low density:

  • Low Metallicity: The star hosting TOI-3757 b has a lower metallicity (around 0.3 dex lower) compared to the average metallicity of M dwarf stars that host gas giants. This lower metallicity might have contributed to the delayed formation of a solid core massive enough to trigger the rapid accumulation of gas.
  • Tidal Heating: It’s also possible that the eccentricity of TOI-3757 b’s orbit (solid estimation at 0.14 +/- 0.06) leads towards tidal heating, which could have expanded the planet’s radius. This, in turn, would result in the lower density observed.

Because of its low density and large scale height, TOI-3757 b is an excellent planet for studying its atmosphere using transmission spectroscopy. This research can reveal details about the atmosphere’s composition and how gases escape, with an estimated measurement of around 190 for transmission spectroscopy.

The Rocky Core & Elliptical Shape of TOI-3757b:

The unusually low density of TOI-3757b can be attributed to two key factors, as explained by astronomers.

Firstly, it’s related to the planet’s rocky core. Gas giants typically start as massive rocky cores, roughly ten times the mass of Earth. Cores quickly gather lots of nearby gas, becoming the gas giants we see now. However, TOI-3757’s host star has a lower concentration of heavy elements compared to other M-dwarf stars with gas giants. This difference may have caused the rocky core of TOI-3757b to form more slowly, delaying the initiation of gas accumulation, and consequently, influencing the planet’s overall density.

Secondly, the planet’s orbit is believed to be somewhat elliptical. At certain points in its orbit, it comes closer to its star than at other times. This proximity results in significant additional heating, causing the planet’s atmosphere to expand or bloat. This expansion contributes to the planet’s lower density.

What is TOI-3757 b?

TOI-3757 b is an exoplanet classified as a gas giant, and it orbits a K-type star. It has a mass approximately equal to 0.26838 times that of Jupiter. This exoplanet orbits its star in just 3.4 days and is very close, about 0.03845 AU away from it.

When was toi-3757 b discovered?

Discovered in 2022, TOI-3757 b is a gas giant orbiting a red dwarf star in the constellation Auriga, located about 580 light-years from Earth. It’s exceptionally low-density, akin to a marshmallow.

Is there a marshmallow planet?

TOI-3757 b, the lowest-density planet ever detected, has a density akin to a marshmallow. The measurement of this exoplanet is just 0.27 grams per cubic centimeter, which is less than half the density of Saturn.

Who discovered TOI-3757 b?

The discovery of TOI-3757b was possible through NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). It was subsequently confirmed using the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF).

What is the diameter of TOI-3757 b?

TESS observed TOI-3757 b as it passed in front of its host star. It is enabling astronomers to determine that the planet’s diameter is approximately 150,000 kilometers (100,000 miles). Which makes it slightly larger than Jupiter.

Is the cotton candy planet real?

“Super-Puffs” might sound like the name of a breakfast cereal. But it’s a term which describes a special and uncommon category of young exoplanets. These planets are as light as cotton candy, and there’s nothing similar to them in our solar system.

Is there a pink planet?

GJ 504b is a fascinating magenta-colored exoplanet. This pinkish planet comprises of gases and looks somewhat like Jupiter, a huge gas giant in our solar system. However, GJ 504b is notably larger, with a mass approximately four times greater than that of Jupiter.

Significant Statements by Authors & Researchers:

TOI-3757b was discovered using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). It is confirmed with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF) on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and the NEID instrument on the WIYN 3.5-m telescope.

Jessica Libby-Roberts is an author of the new research on TOI-3757 b and a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University, She says in a statement.

“Potential future observations of the atmosphere of this planet using NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope could help shed light on its puffy nature,”

Dr. Jessica Libby-Roberts, a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University, says:

“Potential future observations of the atmosphere of this planet using the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope could help shed light on its puffy nature.”

Dr. Kanodia says:

“Finding more such systems with giant planets — which were once theorized to be extremely rare around red dwarfs — is part of our goal to understand how planets form.”

In 2011, the Kepler mission spotted an Exoplanet koi-3010.01 using the transit method. Scientists are really interested in this planet because it shares Earth-like qualities. So, without any delay let’s explore some of the common elements that this exoplanet and our Earth shares!

‘Lyra’ Constellation of Exoplanet koi-3010.01:

The red dwarf KOI-3010 is 1,213 light-years away in the Lyra constellation. It’s a really old star, about 13.9 billion years old. The planet KOI-3010.01, or Exoplanet koi-3010.01 is a warm super-Earth-like planet. But it may be your surprise that it is heavier than our planet but not as big as gas giants. Moreover, it takes around 60 Earth days to revolve around its star.

Exoplanet Koi-3010.01

Comparative Dimensions of Exoplanet Koi-3010.01 and the Earth

The planet KOI-3010.01 exudes the conditions that are suitable for the existence and growth of life. Its average temperature stands at 19.6°C, and it boasts a radius 1.35 times larger than Earth’s. If you want to know about the information about its atmosphere, then it is limited. There’s an assumption that it closely resembles Earth’s atmosphere. The planet’s mass index is not clear. However, researchers are optimistic that Exoplanet koi-3010.01 offers more than just a temperate Earth-like climate. Therefore, they are really interested in discovering a vast liquid ocean covering approximately 65% of its surface.

Exoplanets KOI-3010.01 and the Earth

The exoplanet has many similar compositions to our planet and which is why it is in the habitable zone. Its similarity index to Earth is 0.84. Therefore, it is making scientists strongly believe it could support life. The  has an average surface temperature of 4092 K, which is nearly 29% cooler than our Sun. This explains why the conditions on the exoplanet, despite its proximity, are quite comfortable.

It is clear that life on this exoplanet depends on its atmosphere. It’s about 19.6 degrees Celsius on average and bigger than Earth. But, scientists are yet to know about the mass of this planet. Also, they don’t know much about its air, but it might be like Earth’s. We don’t know its mass yet. Researchers are predicting that this planet have a pleasant atmosphere like Earth and a big ocean covering most of its surface. Which could be great for life.

The KOI-3010.01 provides conditions for the origin and sustainability of life that are approximately 6% more favorable than Earth’s. Considering that KOI-3010.01 is nearly twice as old as Earth, there is a very similarity that life could have emerged and evolved on this exoplanet.

The Support to Organic Life Exoplanet koi-3010.01 : Liquid Water & Much More!

The similarities between this exoplanet and Earth make it a strong consideration for supporting organic life. Having liquid water is important for life as we know it, and a size and orbit similar to Earth’s, it could possibly have a rocky surface.

Now, let’s move on talking about atmosphere which is also an interesting part. Using advanced computer models, scientists have simulated what KOI-3010.01’s atmosphere might be like. The results suggest it could have a thick, oxygen-rich atmosphere, another key factor for life’s development and sustainability.

However, these simulations are just educated guesses. To get the real scoop on KOI-3010.01, we need to conduct more observations and analysis. Scientists are still in surprise that how this exoplanet is supporting the life.

We need more research to order to confirm the life signs on KOI-3010.01.  Still, this exoplanet gives us a lot of important clues about the chance of life on it.

What is a koi exoplanet?

KOI 172.02, considered a “super-Earth,” is in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. This means the planet might have water, which is important for life, but it’s not confirmed yet.

Is Exoplanet koi-3010.01 habitable?

Incredible news in the world of astronomy! The exoplanet KOI-3010.01 is now classified as potentially habitable with an astonishing 84% probability, marking a historic milestone.

Is KOI-4878.01 a real planet?

KOI-4878.01 is a candidate exoplanet circling the F-type main-sequence star, KOI-4878, situated approximately 1075 light years (or 329 parsecs) away from Earth. This planet is a lot like Earth, and if we confirm it, it could be one of the most Earth-like planets we’ve ever found.

Is Koi-55 b a real planet?

KOI-55 b is an exoplanet that resembles Earth in terms of its terrestrial nature, and it orbits a B-type star. This planet is 0.44 times Earth’s mass and orbits its star in just 0.2 days. It’s incredibly close to its star, situated at a distance of about 0.006 Astronomical Units (AU). Scientists announced its discovery in 2011.

Bottom Line!

Scientists think this planet has similar chemicals to Earth. Moreover,  it resides within the habitable zone and has a similarity index to Earth of 0.84 (with 1 being the maximum). This leads researchers to consider it highly likely to support life.

Since 1995, scientists have found more than 4,000 Earth-like exoplanets. It would surely be your surprise that these planets are outside our solar system. NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration page says the Kepler Space Telescope found most of these.  Astronomers really wanted to find the first “alien Earth.” The Earth-like planets in the Milky Way.  New discoveries show that many small, rocky planets like ours are all over the galaxy.

How Earth-like Exoplanets could Resemble the Earth?

A planet should be small and rocky, like Earth, if it wants to be a good place for life. Besides this, it also needs to be in the right spot around its star, not too hot or too cold. Henceforth, this special spot is sometimes called the “Goldilocks” zone, where it’s just right for liquid water on the planet. As telescopes get better, we’ll also look at other things like what the planet’s air is like and how active its star is.

Earth-like Exoplanets
(Image credit: Nazarii Neshcherenskyi via Getty Images)

Even though finding a planet just like Earth is hard, we’ve found some that are pretty close to being similar to our home.

Earth-like Exoplanets: Let’s Have a Quick Glance!

To answer your quest of how many Earth like planets are there in the universe. We have curated a list of Earth-like exoplanets. So, let’s have a keen and some valuable content!

Gliese 667Cc:

Exoplanets List and Names 2023
An artist’s impression of the surface of Gliese 667Cc. (Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

This planet is merely 22 light-years away from us. It’s at least 4.5 times heftier than Earth, as indicated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This exoplanet whirls around its host star in a mere 28 days, but here’s the twist. The star is a cooler red dwarf. Which is chillier than our sun. This chill factor led scientists to speculate that Gliese 667Cc resides within the habitable zone. Where conditions might allow liquid water to exist.

However, science says that it is one of the Earth-like Exoplanets, but a very noteworthy point arises. Gliese 667Cc was initially detected using the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope in Chile. And it might be positioned too close to the red dwarf. Because the exoplanet is so close to the red dwarf star, it could be in danger of getting heated up by the star’s strong bursts of light called flares.


Kepler-22b is positioned 600 light-years from us. It holds a unique distinction. It clinched the title of being the very first planet discovered by Kepler within its parent star’s habitable zone. However, there’s a catch. It is world dwarfs Earth in size. It is measuring about 2.4 times larger. What remains unclear is the composition of this “super-Earth.” Is it rocky, liquid, or perhaps gaseous? The answer is vague for now!

Besides this, let us tell you an interesting fact too. Kepler-22b’s orbit takes about 290 days, which bears a resemblance to Earth’s 365-day cycle.  Being one the resembled Earth-like Exoplanets, it circles a G-class star, akin to our sun, but with a twist. This star is smaller and cooler compared to our familiar sun.

Habitable Exoplanets
Artist’s illustration of Kepler-69c. (Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

This Earth like exoplanet Kepler-22b is located a vast 2,700 light-years away. It presents another enigma. This world succeed the Earth’s size by about 70 percent. However, the makeup of Kepler-69c remains a mystery, much like its counterparts.

Taking a closer look, Kepler-69c takes a brisk 242-day journey to complete one orbit around its star. This places it in a position in its own solar system similar to where Venus resides in ours. An interesting distinction arises in the form of Kepler-69c’s host star. It’s roughly 80 percent as radiant as our sun. Which if giving us a hit of the possibility that this planet snuggles within its star’s habitable realm.


NASA has discovered a planet called Kepler-62f. It is about 40% bigger than Earth. This planet goes around a star that’s cooler than our Sun. It takes 267 days for Kepler-62f to complete one orbit. And it’s in the part of space that’s just right for living things.

Here’s an interesting fact: Even though Kepler-62f is closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, the star doesn’t give off as much light.

Kepler-62f is quite far away, around 1,200 light-years from us. It’s a good size for a planet, which means it might be rocky like Earth. And there’s a chance it could have oceans, which is pretty exciting!


This planet is just a little bit bigger than Earth, not more than 10% larger. Among the group of planets, one called TRAPPIST-1e stands out. Scientists think it could be a good place for life we know. It’s in the habitable zone, but it’s on the outer edge.

Earth-like Exoplanets
This illustration shows the TRAPPIST exoplanets nearest their star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Then there’s Kepler-186f. It’s different from Earth because it only gets a third of the energy from its star. This planet is about 500 light-years away from us.

Around a star called TRAPPIST-1, there’s an amazing group of planets. They’re the most Earth-sized planets we’ve found in a zone where conditions might be right for life. That is the reason science says it is one the most acceptable Earth-like exoplanets. There are seven of them altogether, and one of these special planets is called TRAPPIST-1e. It’s the most likely place where life could exist, at least as we know it.


Habitable Planets
A planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky. (Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Kepler-186f’s star is a red dwarf, which makes it not exactly like Earth. This interesting planet is signaling to us from a faraway distance of around 500 light-years.

What exoplanet is most like Earth?

Kepler-452b, occasionally dubbed as Earth 2.0 or Earth’s Cousin due to its features, is a captivating super-Earth exoplanet. This world gracefully revolves along the inner boundaries of its star Kepler-452’s habitable zone. Notably, Kepler-452b stands as the sole inhabitant of this planetary system. Its other identity, Kepler Object of Interest KOI-7016.01, holds relevance in the astronomical community.

Habitable zone
An artist’s impression compares Kepler 452b with Earth. (Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Are there any Earth-like exoplanets?

  • Gliese 667Cc.
  • Kepler-22b.
  • Kepler-69c.
  • Kepler-62f.
  • Kepler-186f.
  • Kepler-442b.
  • Kepler-452b.
  • Kepler-1649c.

What is the closest Earth-like exoplanets?

Merely four light-years distant, Proxima Centauri b holds the esteemed title of being our nearest known exoplanetary neighbor. This intriguing celestial body, known as Proxima b, falls within the super Earth category. It gracefully orbits an M-type star. Weighing in at 1.27 times the mass of Earth, this exoplanet completes its orbit around its star in a mere 11.2 days. Positioned at a distance of 0.0485 astronomical units (AU) from its star, Proxima b entered our awareness with its discovery announcement in 2016.

Have we found another planet like Earth?

NASA researchers have just unveiled an exciting discovery. They’ve come across a planet known as TOI 700 e, which boasts a striking resemblance to Earth. The size and shape of TOI 700 e are nearly identical to our own planet, standing at about 95%. Adding to its intrigue, this newfound world features a solid, rocky exterior. What’s even more captivating is that TOI 700 e occupies a special place within its star’s habitable zone, suggesting the tantalizing possibility of water existing on its surface.

Does Kepler-452b have humans?

The presence of life on Kepler-452b remains uncertain, yet intriguing parallels with Earth emerge. Notably, this exoplanet shares a resemblance with our own world. Kepler-452b, for instance, takes approximately 385 Earth days to gracefully complete its orbit around its star. This duration is just slightly extended compared to the span of one Earth year.

What habitable planet is 4 light years?

Astronomers have caused quite a stir with their latest revelations about Proxima b—an exoplanet deemed “highly habitable.” This distant world is merely a short 4.2 light-year hop away from Earth. The scientific community is abuzz with excitement as they contemplate the potential significance of this discovery. It’s believed that Proxima b might be making significant impact across the cosmos, as it possesses conditions that could support vast oceans of liquid water.

What other planet can we live on?

In the most recent turn of events, a groundbreaking discovery unfolded. Merely last year, scientists revealed the existence of yet another Earth-like planet. This remarkable world orbits around Proxima Centauri, one of our nearest neighboring stars. Remarkably, this planet stands as the prime contender in our search for a suitable habitat for human life.

Is there a planet like Earth in the habitable zone?

Using information from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, scientists have done something incredible. They’ve found a planet called TOI 700 e that’s about the same size as Earth. It’s in a good spot around its star, where it’s not too hot or too cold. This special area is where water on a planet could be liquid.

How the Earth-like Exoplanets can Paves the Way in Space Science?

Finding star systems with planets like Earth in this special area is really important. It helps scientists learn more about how our own solar system began.

In the past, many of these planets might have lost their water when they were young. But in 2018, a study suggested that some of these planets could have even more water than Earth’s oceans.

Scientists define the hopeful habitable zone as the area around a star where there could have been liquid water at some point in the past. It goes beyond the more conservative habitable zone, where scientists think liquid water might have been possible for a long time.

Scientists have made an extraordinary observation by uncovering a giant exoplanet’s captivating spiral arms within its host star’s gaseous and dusty confines.
Does it sound intriguing? Yes, it is! Our galaxy unfolds many crisp theories every day that paved the way for scientific theories and inventions.

An Enigmatic Giant Planet MWC 758c Sculpting the Reddest Exoplanet Forming Spiral Arms

The planet is also the reddest planet discovered beyond the solar system, or ‘exoplanet,’ according to experts.

Spiral arms are formations commonly associated with galaxies, with photographs of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way, serving as a spectacular example. Spiral arms aren’t just seen in galaxies; gas and dust near newborn stars may also produce them.

Spiral Arms of a Star
This still from a simulation shows how the giant exoplanet MWC 758c is carving spiral arms of its parent star. (Image credit: L. Krapp and K. Kratter, University of Arizona)

MWC 758, situated roughly 500 light-years from Earth, is considered just a few million years old, making it a baby compared to our middle-aged’ sun, which is approximately 4.6 billion years old.

And, like the sun, MWC 758 is encircled by a disk of planet-forming material known as a protoplanetary disk. However, astronomers have been aware of a spiral pattern generating two arms in this protoplanetary disk since at least 2013. According to University of Arizona experts, the twin spiral arms are the product of a gigantic planet called MWC 758c, which circles the star at a distance equal to 100 times the distance between Earth and the sun.

Suppose you are wondering now how a giant planet could be a cosmic cluster forming spiral arms of its host star. Then the following part will uncover some significant information.

How Giant Planets Shapes Spiral Arms? A Deep & Scientific Analysis Revealed so much!

A Research lead author and the University of Arizona Steward Observatory postdoc Kevin Wagner, said:

“Our study puts forward a solid piece of evidence that giant planets cause these spiral arms,”

“And with the new James Webb Space Telescope, we will be able to further test and support this idea by searching for more planets like MWC 758c.”

MWC 758 planetary system
The MWC 758 planetary system as observed by the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer at infrared wavelengths. Its spiral arms are clearly apparent, as its the giant exoplanet sculpting them. (Image credit: L. Krapp and K. Kratter, University of Arizona)

Protoplanetary disks like this one and the one that previously produced the solar system typically disintegrate after 10 million years. The constituent matter within the system has three potential fates: expulsion from the system, absorption by the budding star, or incorporation into the formation of celestial bodies such as planets, moons, asteroids, and comets.

Wagner said:

“I think of this system as an analogy for how our solar system would have appeared less than 1% into its lifetime,”

“Jupiter, being a giant planet, also likely interacted with and gravitationally sculpted our disk billions of years ago, which eventually led to the formation of Earth.”

Here we are discovering what potential reason could be back that forms cosmic sculptures.

Why Cosmic Sculptors Form Giant Planets and Spiral Arms?

Spiral arms are pretty prevalent in protoplanetary disks. According to scientists, around ten of the 30 disks seen in relatively close young star systems have their spiral arms.

Wagner said:

“Spiral arms can provide feedback on the planet formation process itself. Our observation of this new planet further supports the idea that giant planets form early on, accreting mass from their birth environment, and then gravitationally alter the subsequent environment for other, smaller planets to form.”

According to one popular explanation, these spiral arms are formed when a large gas giant tugs on material whirling around its parent star. Until recently, astronomers have been unable to identify the planets that may function as cosmic sculptors for these arms.

“It was an open question as to why we hadn’t seen any of these planets yet,” Wagner said. “Most models of planet formation suggest that giant planets should be very bright shortly after their formation, and such planets should have already been detected.”

And to your surprise, the spiral arms of the host star have been keenly observed and discovered by LBTI. Here is how this university formed this particular information!

University of Arizona’s LBTI Uncovers MWC 758c in Mid-Infrared Spectrum

Using the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), the University of Arizona discovered the spiral arms dealer at MWC 758. While most exoplanet-hunting telescopes explore for planets beyond the solar system using short wavelengths at the blue end of the electromagnetic spectrum, this University of Arizona-built equipment can scan the sky at longer wavelengths in the mid-infrared area.

This suggests that, while MWC 758c managed to elude other telescopes with its odd and surprising red-hue, it couldn’t fool the LBTI.

Because of the thermal glow of the Earth’s atmosphere and the telescope itself, longer, redder wavelengths are more challenging to detect than shorter, bluer wavelengths, according to LBTI chief instrument scientist Steve Ertel.

When discovering planets hiding around their stars, the LBTI, one of the most sensitive infrared telescopes ever built, can even exceed the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which likewise scans the cosmos in infrared. The team also has theories on how the planet remained undiscovered for so long.

Thus, two models were explored that could be why this planet is brighter and has long wavelengths.

What Two Models Are Explored for Mysterious Planet MWC 758c that Formed Spiral Arms?

Ertel said:

“We propose two different models for why this planet is brighter at longer wavelengths. Either this is a planet with a colder temperature than expected, or it is a planet that’s still hot from its formation, and it happens to be enshrouded by dust.”

If MWC 758c is blanketed in dust, the dust will absorb short-wavelength light, causing the planet to seem brilliant only at longer red wavelengths.

If the exoplanet is surrounded by dust, it might mean it is still growing or accumulating its moons, just like the solar system’s gas giant Jupiter did billions of years ago.

“In the other scenario of a colder planet surrounded by less dust, the planet is fainter and emits more of its light at longer wavelengths,” research co-author and University of Arizona theoretical astrophysicist Kaitlin Kratter said.

Now, you must be wondering how this discovery could further help in scientific studies. If yes, then here you go!

What are the Implications for Planet Formation Theories and Exoplanet Hunting Strategies?

If this chillier model for MWC 758c is correct, it suggests that something is happening in developing planetary systems like this that cause planets to form colder than predicted. This might have an influence on planet formation theories as well as the approaches now used by astronomers to find exoplanets.

“In either case, we now know that we need to start looking for redder protoplanets in these systems with spiral arms,” Wagner said.

The researchers that discovered MWC 758c will now use the JWST to observe the exoplanet in 2024 to discern between various scenarios at work in this young planetary system.

“Depending on the results that come from the JWST observations, we can begin to apply this newfound knowledge to other stellar systems,” Wagner said, “and that will allow us to make predictions about where other hidden planets might be lurking and will give us an idea as to what properties we should be looking for to detect them.”

Now, for the first time, scientists have found an exoplanet by Cheops that shines as brightly as Venus. Aside from the Moon, Venus is the biggest thing we can see in the night sky. Its thick layer of clouds returns about 75% of the Sun’s light. On the other hand, Earth only produces about 30% of the light that comes its way.

This planet, LTT9779 b, is the first of its kind. New readings from the ESA’s Cheops mission show that this planet returns 80% of the light from its host star.

What was the Cheops mission’s role in follow-up observations?

The high-precision readings made by Cheops were meant to follow up on what NASA’s TESS mission and ground-based instruments like the ESO HARPS instrument in Chile found and learned about the planet in 2020.

The world is about the same size as Neptune, which makes it the most enormous “mirror” or Cheops we know of in the Universe. Its high reflection comes from the silvery clouds that cover it. Most of them are made of silicate, the same material as sand and glass, mixed with metals like titanium.

James Jenkins, a scientist at Diego Portales University and CATA in Santiago, Chile, says,

“Picture a world that is on fire and close to its star. Heavy clouds of metals are floating in the air, and titanium rain is falling from them.”

The amazingly high elevations of Albedo on LTT9779 b

Today, the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics released a scientific study James co-wrote. It talks about the new research. Metal clouds fill the sky. A thing’s “albedo” is the amount of light that it reflects. Most planets have a low albedo because their atmospheres absorb much light or their surfaces are dark or rough. Ice worlds and planets like Venus, which have clouds reflecting light, usually differ from this.

The high albedo of LTT9779 b was a surprise because the side of the planet that faces its star is thought to be around 2000 °C. If the temperature is over 100 °C, water clouds can’t form, but the temperature of this planet’s atmosphere should be so high that even metal or glass clouds can’t start.

What were some perspectives regarding Cheops’ mission?

Vivien Parmentier, a researcher at the Observatory of Côte d’Azur in France and co-author of this study says about Cheops mission;

“It was a real puzzle until we realized that this cloud formation was like condensation in a bathroom after a hot shower,”

“To make a bathroom steamy, you can either cool the air until the water vapor condenses or keep the hot water running until clouds form because the air can’t hold any more vapor.”

A quick introduction to LTT9779 b, a hot Neptune

Even though LTT9779 b is very hot, metallic clouds can form because the atmosphere has too much silicate and metal vapor.

LTT9779 b is more interesting than the fact that it is shiny. It is called an “ultra-hot Neptune” because of its size and temperature, but no other planet of this size and mass has been found to circle so close to its star. It lives in the “hot Neptune desert” because of this.

The planet’s radius is 4.7 times that of Earth, and a year on LTT9779 b lasts only 19 hours. All the worlds found so far that circle their star in less than a day are either “hot Jupiters,” gas giants with a radius at least ten times bigger than Earth’s, or rocky planets smaller than two Earth’s radii.

“It’s a planet that shouldn’t exist,” Vivien says. “We think that planets like this will have their atmosphere blown away by their star, leaving only rock.”

First author Sergio Hoyer of the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory says,

“We think these metal clouds help the planet survive in the hot Neptune desert.”

Because the clouds reflect light, the world doesn’t get too hot and starts to boil off. Also, the world and its atmosphere are heavy and hard to blow away because they have a lot of metal. They were studying an alien planet by looking for it via Cheops when it was not visible.

What was the role of Cheops in analyzing LTT9779 b?

Cheops, an ESA project to study exoplanets, looked at LTT9779 b when it moved behind its mother star to find out what it was like. Because the planet reflects light, the principal and world send more light to the space telescope right before the earth goes out of view than right after. You can tell how much light a world returns by comparing how much visible light you get before and after the earth is covered.

This project depended on the accuracy of Cheops and the ability to be on call 24/7.

Sergio says,

“Only Cheops could measure the tiny change in the signal caused by the star passing in front of the planet.”

Maximilian Günther, who works on the Cheops project for ESA, says,

“Cheops is the first space journey ever designed to follow up on and learn more about known exoplanets.”

Cheops has more freedom than big projects that look for new exoplanet systems. It can quickly focus on attractive targets and reach a level of coverage and accuracy that we often can’t get any other way.

We get the whole picture when we use different tools to look at the same world. Emily Rickman, a science operations scientist at ESA says;

“LTT9779 b is a great place to keep an eye on because both the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes are so good,”

“They will let us study this exoplanet with a wider range of wavelengths, such as infrared and UV light, to learn more about how its atmosphere is made.”

What is the future mission of Cheops and other Exoplanets?

Cheops is the first of three specialized efforts to study exoplanets, so there is much to look forward to in the field. It will be joined in 2026 by the Plato mission, which will look for planets like Earth far enough from their star that life might be possible. Ariel will join the fleet in 2029, and her primary job will be to study the atmospheres of other planets.

The habitable exoplanet, SPECULOOS-2c or LP 890-9c, was found in September 2022. It circles its star every 8.5 Earth days at a distance of just 1.7 million miles (2.8 million kilometers), yet its diameter is 40% higher than Earth’s.

A Potentially Habitable Exoplanet is Near a Tiny Red Dwarf Star:

However, because the red dwarf is tiny and chilly, it can be cool even near the star. LP 890-9c  is close to the inner boundary of the star’s zone, which denotes the region in which a planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth might sustain liquid water on its surface.

Habitable Exoplanet is in Climatic Spheres:

LP 890-9c may be in many climatic and atmospheric states, and the James Webb Space Telescope may be able to discriminate between them, according to a new study conducted by Lisa Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University.

What is the Location of the Exoplanet?

Similar to how Venus is situated in our solar system, which is similarly at the inner border of the zone, LP 890-9c, Habitable Exoplanet is situated in its planetary system.

A planet in Venus’ position may continue to support life. Still, at some point over its 4.5 billion-year existence. Venus became enmeshed in a feedback loop caused by a runaway greenhouse effect.

Venus previously had water on its surface, but that evaporated due to the planet’s dense carbon dioxide atmosphere.

Why Some Planets Would Not Get Venus’s Identical Manner?

Only some planets towards the inner border of the zone will, however, develop in Venus’s identical manner. One is because Venus lacks a magnetic field to block the solar wind, a torrent of charged particles emanating from the sun.

As a result, the planet’s water supply was reduced due to the solar wind’s increased ability to transport away hydrogen atoms that the sun’s ultraviolet radiation had broken off water molecules.

LP 890-9c, habitable exoplanet could fend off the stellar wind from its star and preserve the water vapor in its atmosphere if it has a powerful magnetic field.

Kaltenegger said in a release:

“Looking at this planet will tell us what’s happening on the inner edge of the habitable zone—how long a rocky planet can maintain habitability when it starts to get hot,” 

The Crisp Details About the Chemical Composition of Habitable Exoplanets:

The planet was modeled by Kaltenegger’s team using measurements of its mass and radius.

The models also included assumptions about the planet’s chemical composition, surface pressure and temperature, atmospheric depth, and cloud cover. These later elements are unknown at the moment.

The planet may be cratered and devoid of atmosphere for all we know. This is a likely scenario given that red dwarfs are frequently subject to powerful flares that might rob an orbiting planet of its atmosphere.

Deep Analytical Study of the Characteristics of Exoplanets:

The group developed five distinct models that speculated on the characteristics of LP 890-9c, the Habitable Exoplanet. These varied from a hotter version of Earth to varying concentrations of atmospheric water vapor and greenhouse gases, with the ultimate model approaching Venus’s hellish atmosphere of choking carbon dioxide.

Three Transits Study of Exoplanet by JWST:

According to a separate study led by Jonathan Gomez Barrientos of the California Institute of Technology, JWST would only need to observe three transits of LP 890-9c, across the face of its host star to confirm the presence of a steamy, water-rich atmosphere. And eight transits would be sufficient to determine whether LP 890-9c is more like Venus, and 20 transits would be sufficient to find evidence for the still-hot Earth scenario.

Theoretically, it should only take six months to complete the observations because the planet transits its star every 8.5 Earth days.

Testament of Targets on Earth:

The first target where we may test these many possibilities is our planet, according to Kaltenegger.

“If it’s still a hotter Earth—hot, but with liquid water and conditions for life—then the inner edge of the habitable zone [around all stars] could be teeming with life.”

Although JWST cannot directly detect liquid water on the planet’s surface, it can establish whether the atmosphere is suitable for the presence of liquid water.

Even if LP 890-9c,  proves to be too hot for life, the discoveries may still have something to tell us about the future of Earth. Over a billion years, the sun will gradually become brighter and warmer as it matures, making Earth too hot for life and causing the seas to evaporate. We can learn more about Earth’s future by examining a planet other than Venus that has previously experienced this period or possibly has even managed to withstand it for the time being.

Let’s Conclude the Habitable Exoplanet with Kaltenegger’s Final Words:

“Habitable exoplanet will teach us something fundamental about how rocky planets change with rising starlight and about what will eventually happen to us and Earth.”

TRAPPIST-1 c Atmosphere’s Analysis

A team of scientists from around the world used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to calculate the amount of heat energy emitted by TRAPPIST-1 c, a rocky exoplanet. The findings indicate that, if there is indeed an atmosphere, it is remarkably tenuous.

This artist’s concept shows what the hot rocky exoplanet TRAPPIST-1 c could look like based on this work. TRAPPIST-1 c, the second of seven known planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, orbits its star at a distance of 0.016 AU (about 1.5 million miles), completing one circuit in just 2.42 Earth days. TRAPPIST-1 c is slightly larger than Earth but has around the same density, which indicates that it must have a rocky composition. Webb’s measurement of 15-micron mid-infrared light emitted by TRAPPIST-1 c suggests that the planet has either a bare rocky surface or a very thin carbon dioxide atmosphere.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

TRAPPIST-1 c, with a dayside temperature of approximately 380 kelvins, currently holds the record for being the coolest rocky exoplanet characterized by thermal emission. The accuracy required for these measurements showcases the effectiveness of the Webb telescope in analyzing rocky exoplanets similar in size and temperature to those within our solar system.

The recent breakthrough in research marks a momentous stride in unraveling the mystery of whether planets circling diminutive red dwarfs such as TRAPPIST-1, the most abundant kind of stars in our galaxy, can sustain life-sustaining atmospheres akin to what we recognize.

Clues to Atmospheric Composition

Sebastian Zieba, a graduate student at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany and the lead author of the published results in Nature, stated, “We want to know if rocky planets have atmospheres or not. In the past, we could only really study planets with thick, hydrogen-rich atmospheres. With Webb, we can finally start to search for atmospheres dominated by oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.”

TRAPPIST-1 c is one of seven rocky planets orbiting an ultracool red dwarf star, approximately 40 light-years away from Earth. The presence of similar size and mass notwithstanding, the question of whether these planets possess atmospheres akin to the inner rocky planets in our solar system remains shrouded in uncertainty. During the initial billion years of their existence, M dwarfs emit intense X-ray and ultraviolet radiation capable of stripping away a young planetary atmosphere. In addition, it’s possible that not enough water, carbon dioxide, or other volatile chemicals were present during the planets’ creation to support significant atmospheres.

TRAPPIST- 1 c, the Venus Twin

Laura Kreidberg, also from Max Planck and a co-author, explained, “TRAPPIST-1 c is interesting because it’s essentially a twin of Venus: it shares a similar size and receives a comparable amount of radiation from its host star as Venus does from the Sun. We speculated that it could possess a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere akin to Venus.”

To address these inquiries, the team employed Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to observe the TRAPPIST-1 system on four separate occasions as the planet passed behind the star, resulting in a secondary eclipse. The team determined the amount of mid-infrared light, specifically at 15 microns, emitted by the planet’s dayside by comparing the brightness when the planet is beside the star (combining light from the star and planet) with the brightness when the planet is behind the star (representing only starlight).

Rocky Exoplanet
This light curve shows the change in brightness of the TRAPPIST-1 system as the second planet, TRAPPIST-1 c, moves behind the star. This phenomenon is known as a secondary eclipse. Astronomers used Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) to measure the brightness of mid-infrared light. When the planet is beside the star, the light emitted by both the star and the dayside of the planet reaches the telescope, and the system appears brighter. When the planet is behind the star, the light emitted by the planet is blocked and only the starlight reaches the telescope, causing the apparent brightness to decrease.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

This methodology mirrors the approach employed by another research group to determine that TRAPPIST-1 b, the innermost planet in the system, likely lacks any atmosphere. A planet’s amount of mid-infrared radiation is strongly related to its temperature, which is determined by the composition of its atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gas selectively absorbs 15-micron light, causing the planet to appear dimmer at that wavelength. However, clouds can reflect light, making the planet appear brighter and concealing the presence of carbon dioxide.

Furthermore, a substantial atmosphere of any composition would redistribute heat from the dayside to the nightside, resulting in a lower dayside temperature than would be observed without an atmosphere. TRAPPIST-1 c is thought to be tidally locked, with one side always in the light and the other always in the dark, as it orbits its star nearby (about 1/50th the distance between Venus and the Sun).

TRAPPIST- 1 c’s Carbon Dioxide Cover

Although these initial measurements do not provide definitive information about the nature of TRAPPIST-1 c, they help narrow down the potential possibilities. Zieba noted, “Our results are consistent with the planet being a barren rock with no atmosphere, or the planet possessing an extremely thin CO2 atmosphere (thinner than Earth or even Mars) devoid of clouds. If the planet had a thick CO2 atmosphere, we would have observed a very shallow secondary eclipse or none at all. This is because the CO2 would absorb all the 15-micron light, and we wouldn’t detect any coming from the planet.”

Moreover, the data suggest that TRAPPIST-1 c is unlikely to be a true Venus analog with a thick CO2 atmosphere and sulfuric acid clouds.

Habitable Atmospheres In TRAPPIST-1

The absence of a dense atmosphere implies that the planet may have formed with minimal water. If the other cooler, temperate TRAPPIST-1 planets formed under similar conditions, they might also have started with limited amounts of water and other essential components required for a habitable planet.

The sensitivity required to differentiate between various atmospheric scenarios on such a distant and small planet is genuinely remarkable. The decrease in brightness detected by Webb during the secondary eclipse was merely 0.04 percent, akin to observing a display of 10,000 small light bulbs and noticing that only four have extinguished.

This graph compares the measured brightness of TRAPPIST-1 c to simulated brightness data for three different scenarios. The measurement (red diamond) is consistent with a bare rocky surface with no atmosphere (green line) or a very thin carbon dioxide atmosphere with no clouds (blue line). A thick carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere with sulfuric acid clouds, similar to that of Venus (yellow line), is unlikely. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

Kreidberg expressed her awe, stating, “It is extraordinary that we can measure this. There have been questions for decades now about whether rocky planets can retain atmospheres. Webb’s capabilities truly allow us to compare exoplanet systems to our solar system in a way we have never been able to before.”

Web Telescope Insights

This research was conducted as part of Webb’s General Observers (GO) program 2304, one of the eight programs dedicated to fully characterizing the TRAPPIST-1 system during Webb’s first year of scientific operations. The full orbits of TRAPPIST-1 b and TRAPPIST-1 c will be observed in a follow-up examination in the future year, according to researchers. They will be able to track temperature fluctuations on the day and night sides of the two planets, which will provide them with more information about the existence or lack of atmospheres.

Astronomers have identified an Earth-size exoplanet, or globe outside our solar system, that may be covered in volcanoes. The planet, known as LP 791-18 d, may have volcanic outbursts as frequently as Jupiter’s moon Io, our solar system’s most volcanically active body. NASA’s TESS, Spitzer Space Telescope, and an array of ground-based observatories were used to find and study the planet.

earth size exoplanet
Astronomers discovered and studied the planet using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) along with many other observatories. Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (KRBwyle)

A report published on May 17:

A report describing the planet, led by Merrin Peterson, a graduate of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the University of Montreal, was published in the scientific journal Nature on May 17.

Björn Benneke:

“LP 791-18 d is tidally locked, which means the same side always faces its star,” explained Björn Benneke, co-author and iREx astronomy professor who designed and supervised the project. “The day side is likely to be too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface.” However, the amount of volcanic activity that we suspect occurs all across the planet may be enough to sustain an atmosphere, allowing water to condense on the night side.”

LP 791-18 d:

LP 791-18 d circles a small red dwarf star in the southern constellation Crater, which is roughly 90 light-years away. According to the team, it is only slightly larger and heavier than Earth.

How does the size and weight of LP 791-18 d compare to the other planets in the system?

Prior to this discovery, astronomers were aware of two more worlds in the system known as LP 791-18 b and c. The inner planet b is around 20% the size of Earth. The outer planet c is around 2.5 times the size of Earth and weighs more than seven times as much.

What is the effect of the close passes of planet c on the planet d’s orbit and surface?

Planets d and c pass close to one other during each orbit. Each close pass by the more massive planet c causes a gravitational tug on planet d, causing its orbit to become slightly elliptical. Planet d is significantly distorted as it orbits the star on this elliptical course. These deformations have the potential to generate enough internal friction to significantly heat the planet’s innards and spark volcanic activity on its surface. Jupiter and some of its moons have similar effects on Io.

Where is planet d located in relation to the habitable zone?

Planet d is located on the outside of the habitable zone, which is the typical range of distances from a star at which astronomers believe liquid water may exist on the planet’s surface. If the planet is as geologically active as the researchers believe, it may be able to support life. Temperatures on the planet’s night side may fall low enough for water to condense on the surface.

James Webb Space Telescope observation:

Planet c has already been cleared for James Webb Space Telescope observing time, and the team believes planet d is an excellent candidate for atmosphere investigations by the mission.

Jessie Christiansen:

“A big question in astrobiology, the broad study of the origins of life on Earth and beyond, is whether tectonic or volcanic activity is required for life,” said co-author Jessie Christiansen, a research scientist at NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “In addition to potentially providing an atmosphere, these processes could churn up materials that would otherwise sink and become trapped in the crust, including those we believe are essential for life, such as carbon.”

Spitzer Observation:

Spitzer’s observations of the system were among the last data points collected by the satellite before it was retired in January 2020.

Joseph Hunt:

“It’s incredible to read about the continued discoveries and publications years after Spitzer’s mission concluded,” said Joseph Hunt, Spitzer project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “This demonstrates the accomplishments of our world-class engineers and scientists.” They collaborated to build not only a spacecraft but also a data set that is still useful to the astrophysics community.”

Who are the collaborators and partners involved in the TESS mission?

TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and administered by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Northrop Grumman in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian in Cambridge, Massachusetts; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory; and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore are among the other collaborators. The mission includes more than a dozen colleges, research institutes, and observatories from around the world.

Where is the Spitzer data archive located and who oversees it?

The Spitzer data archive, which is kept at the Infrared Science Archive at IPAC at Caltech in Pasadena, California, houses the whole body of scientific data produced by Spitzer during its existence. Spitzer mission operations were overseen for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington by Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Spitzer Science Center at IPAC at Caltech was the site of the science operations. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado was responsible for spacecraft operations.

The Chinese astronomy team has made a remarkable finding about a planet outside our solar system. In MASCARA-4, an incredibly hot Jupiter, they discovered samarium, the heaviest element ever discovered in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. The planet has a temperature in the thousands of degrees and is three times as massive as our gas giant. The heaviest element yet found in a planetary atmosphere is samarium, a rare-Earth element with an atomic number of 62. The team hopes to conduct additional observations to get more information regarding the planet’s makeup after using the Very Large Telescope in Chile to discover samarium and other chemical elements, including rubidium for the first time.

Lets get started with,

What is the heaviest element discovered on an exoplanet?

China’s National Astronomical Observatories found the heaviest element in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. This exciting news has astronomers buzzing with anticipation for what other discoveries may lie ahead. MASCARA-4 is a fascinating planet that belongs to the ultra-hot Jupiter category. This celestial body is truly fascinating! With a mass 3.1 times greater than that of our gas giant, it boasts a scorching temperature that reaches thousands of degrees. What’s even more intriguing is the presence of a samarium in its atmosphere, which has left astronomers scratching their heads.

Samarium may not be a well-known element to many. Rare-earth elements are fascinating minerals that are often overlooked despite being more abundant in the Earth’s crust than some well-known metals like tin. Some elements have unique properties and potential applications that are not widely recognized. Tin seems to have a more effective public relations team. Samarium, with its atomic number of 62, has been identified as the most massive element ever discovered in a planetary atmosphere.  

The corresponding author Dr. Wei Wang explains: “Every star and planet should contain these elements from birth. The question is why they are so abundant to be detected,” Moreover, Wang said: “Given their large atomic number, they should usually reside in high-pressure low-altitude regions and not be easy to detect.”


MASCARA-4 b is an extrasolar planet made of a lot of gas. It circles an A-type star. It is 0.047 AU from its star and has a mass of 3.1 Jupiter. It takes 2.8 days to go around its star once. In 2020, it was said that it had been found.

Samarium is the heaviest element ever discovered in an exoplanet’s atmosphere, but this planet also possesses another extraordinary characteristic: rubidium (atomic number 37). This compound has been found in the atmosphere of an exoplanet for the very first time.   Iron, calcium, chromium, magnesium, and other elements were confirmed by the team. Additionally, the scientists found barium, titanium, and maybe scandium.

What is the significance of titanium’s detection in the atmosphere of ultra-hot Jupiters?

Titanium’s detection is noteworthy because it has been found in the atmospheres of ultra-hot Jupiters as titanium oxide, organized in layers similar to ozone. The presence of titanium suggests that there may be insufficient oxygen to create these atmospheric layers and to react with samarium. The exoplanet being studied, MASCARA-4, may lack elements such as oxygen and water vapor due to the reaction of samarium with them in Earth’s atmosphere.

Starlight was measured by the team as the planet transited in front of it using the Very Large Telescope in Chile. As the light gets filtered through it, it is feasible to identify the elements present in the atmosphere of this planet. Our Sun is smaller and cooler than the class A star. The atmosphere of this planet is greatly affected by light due to its proximity (less than five percent of the Earth-Sun distance).