Low-density planet with punctuality problem discovered

Washington: A new research has revealed about the discovery of a new planet with low mass and density that has a punctuality problem.

The new planet, called PH3c, which is discovered by the Yale astronomers and the ‘Planet Hunters’ program, is located 2,300 light-years from Earth and has an atmosphere loaded with hydrogen and helium.

The elusive orb nearly avoided detection because PH3c has a highly inconsistent orbit time around its sun, due to the gravitational influence of other planets in its system.

First author Joseph Schmitt said that on Earth, these effects are very small, only on the scale of one second or so, but PH3c’s orbital period changed by 10.5 hours in just 10 orbits.

That inconsistency kept it from being picked up by automated computer algorithms that search stellar light curves and identify regular dips caused by objects passing in front of stars.

Debra Fischer, who leads the exoplanets group at Yale and is a co-author of the paper, said that it harnesses the human dimension of science, as computers can’t find the unexpected, but people can, when they eyeball the data.

The study is published online in The Astrophysical Journal.

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