OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb or The Iceball Planet



Yesterday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced the discover of a new planet orbiting the star much fainter than our sun, but, it is of similar size to earth and a similar distance to earth. In fact, this is actually the smallest planet ever discovered using a technique called microlensing (ScienceDaily). Microlensing utilizes the gravitational field of a foreground and the light of a background star. As the foreground star passes in front of the other, its gravitational field acts almost as a lense for the light of the background star and the light brightens–but not really, it only appears to brighten. The rest of the technique is very similar to the transit method, in that a planet passing in front of the foreground star will cause dip in the light coming from the star. The Iceball planet recently discovered by NASA is said to be orbiting a star that is quite dim and therefore does not heat the planet enough to sustain life, hence Iceball Planet.

One thought on “OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb or The Iceball Planet

  1. It is incredible that we are discovering so many exoplanets this year! In class, we talked about how it was hard to find exoplanets far from their companion stars, but it seems like our technology is overcoming that. The microlensing seems to enhance the transit method, using multiple stars at once. With developing technology, do you think the rate at which we are finding these planets will increase as time goes on?


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