Newfound Gas Giant Orbits its Star in Just 6 Days

A large gas planet has been found that is hot and has a very short orbital period. By studying data collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a team of international astronomers found a new gas giant that’s been named TOI-530b.

The newfound planet is only about 17% smaller than Jupiter, with a mass that is about 0.4 Jupiter masses. It takes just 6.4 days to complete a full orbit around its host star and orbits at a distance of just 0.052 astronomical units (one astronomical unit is the distance of Earth to our sun). Additionally, the planet has an equilibrium temperature of approximately 565 Kelvin (557 degrees Fahrenheit or 292 degrees Celsius).

(Not TOI-530b)

The team of astronomers, who were led by Tianjun Gan of Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, found a transit signal in the light curve of an M dwarf star called TOI-530 (also called TIC-387690507) that’s located about 481.5 light-years away from us. Upon further analysis, they discovered the gas giant TOI-530b.

The star is approximately half the size and mass of our sun with a temperature of about 3,659 Kelvin (6,127 degrees Fahrenheit or 3,386 degrees Celsius). Its bolometric luminosity was measured at 0.049 solar luminosities which means that it is one of the faintest stars that can be accessible by spectroscopy equipment here on Earth.

In their paper, the researchers wrote in part, “We report the discovery of TOI-530b, a transiting giant planet around an M0.5V dwarf, delivered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. … We verify the planetary nature of the transit signals by combining ground-based multi-wavelength photometry, high resolution spectroscopy from SPIRou [SpectroPolarimètre InfraROUge] as well as high-angular-resolution imaging.”

(Not TOI-530b)

They went on to say, “TOI-530b is the sixth transiting giant planet hosted by an M-type star, which is predicted to be infrequent according to core accretion theory, making it a valuable object to further study the formation and migration history of similar planets.”

Their research was published in arXiv where it can be read in full.

According to NASA, to date, 4,531 exoplanets have been confirmed; there are 7,798 planetary candidates; and 3,363 planetary systems have been found. Those are a lot of planets outside of our Solar System – will we ever find life on any of them?

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