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    Super-Earth Discovered by Astronomers from Toruń

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Astronomers from Toruń make a groundbreaking discovery – a super-Earth challenging existing planetary system theories. Unveil the unseen with this scientific breakthrough.

    Toruń astronomers have discovered a super-Earth nearly twice the size and fifteen times the mass of Earth. Orbiting its star in just 35 hours on an extremely tight orbit, the planet’s surface temperature exceeds a thousand degrees Celsius. The planet, identified around the star WASP-84, is expected to lack an atmosphere due to the high temperature. Toruń astronomers conducted this groundbreaking research, revealing unexpected planetary companions in a hot Jupiter system.

    A Surprising Companion to a Hot Jupiter

    The newfound planet orbits the star WASP-84, and scientists anticipate it to be atmosphere-free due to the scorching temperatures. With its rocky surface directly exposed to intense light, heat, and wind from its parent star, this discovery challenges previous notions about the formation and evolution of planetary systems.

    Revealing the Unseen with a Half-Promille Brightness Dip

    Analyzing star brightness measurements, Toruń astronomers, led by Dr. Gracjan Maciejewski, identified a weak signal in the noise. Weronika Łoboda, who worked on the project, detected a faint and hard-to-discern signal indicating a mere half-promille decrease in light flux during the transit of the newfound super-Earth. This challenging observation required numerous averaged observations to develop a model, unveiling the physical properties of the newly discovered planet.

    Earth-Like Features in a Scaled-Up Globe

    Verification efforts involved researchers like Jan Golonka, a doctoral student from the Interdisciplinary Doctoral School “Academia Copernicana.” The discovered super-Earth exhibits Earth-like features with a rich iron core and a silicate mantle. Among thousands of known planets in hundreds of exoplanetary systems, WASP-84 is only the sixth known case of a hot Jupiter system with an additional low-mass planet and the third with the mass of such a planet precisely determined.

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