Numerous exoplanets were discovered orbiting distant stars by Astronomers.   

One of the many worlds that were discovered in this year’s discoveries was a large exoplanet orbiting one the largest and most luminous two-star systems ever observed.

Research also revealed multiple rock worlds in the habitable zone star system, suggesting that life could have evolved there.

MailOnline has compiled an assortment of interesting, bizarre and surprising exoplanet discovery of the last 12 months. 

Astronomers have discovered dozens of previously unknown exoplanets orbiting distant stars, including hot Jupiter planets and 'Super Earths'

Astronomers discovered many previously unknown exoplanets that orbit distant stars. This includes hot Jupiter and Super Earths.

Although these observations were made using the existing generation of space-based and ground observatories, future telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope will enable them to view their atmospheres more clearly.    

Gliese 486b – A Super-Earth which could support ALIEN life

According to new research, an exoplanet called “super-Earth” that has a surface temperature about the same as Venus could have an atmosphere capable of supporting alien life. 

The Max-Planck Institute’s astronomers used different observation methods to find the planet orbiting 26-light-years away from a red dwarf dwarf star.

Scientists discover new rocky 'Super-Earth' planet called Gliese 486b that could host ALIEN life

Scientists find a new super-earth rocky planet named Gliese 486b, which could be home to ALIEN life 

GLIESE 486b – A HOT TERRESTRIAL WORLD 

Radius1.305 Times the Earth

Mass: 2.82 times Earth

Period of oralityTime: 1.46 Days

Host star type: Red dwarf

Temperature: 426 degrees C

Distance26 lightyears 

Gliese486b has been the only known orbiting planet of the star. It is approximately 1.3 times bigger than Earth, but is still 2.8 times heavier.

Team members said that the iron-silicate structure of the planet was similar to Earth’s but it is hotter with an average surface temperature of 428° Celsius.

Astronomers believe that further research will be required to determine if the planet has an atmosphere, or is suitable for human life. 

It is not sufficiently hot to turn into a lava-planet, which is where its atmosphere and molten rock run along most of the surface. However, it will likely still be home to flowing lava.

Astronomers were intrigued by the idea that this planet might have an atmosphere, and therefore could be suitable to support life.

The scientists didn’t say what kind of life would be possible on such hot planets. 

Centauri B: An exoplanet that orbits a massive two-star system.

Researchers have discovered a huge planet in orbit around the largest and most massive system of two stars. Scientists were baffled, as such a world would not be possible.

Exoplanet b Centauri is currently moving about 325 light years from Earth. It has a mass of at least six-times that of Earth’s sun.

The newly found planet, known as b Centauri b, has also been found to orbit the star system at 100 distance Jupiter orbits the sun, which scientists say could be the key to its survival

Scientists believe that the newly discovered planet, b Centauri B, orbits Jupiter at 100 degrees from the sun. This is a sign of its potential survival. 

No planets larger than our sun have been seen around stars.

Scientists believe that the newly discovered planet, b Centauri B, orbits Jupiter at 100 degrees from the sun. This could provide the secret to its survival.

Markus Janson is an astronomer from Stockholm University, Sweden, and the lead author.

Janson and his coworkers spotted b Cen b on Jan 20, 2019 with the Spectropolimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research (SPHERE), which was mounted on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. They also spotted it again the following day, April 10, 2021.

High-contrast imaging was employed to locate the planet. This allowed scientists to differentiate between faint light from the planet’s surface and very bright starlight emitted by the stars.

“Our findings show that planets can live in massive star systems, which is more than would have been expected from extrapolation,” reads Nature’s study.

GJ 367b – A small planet similar to Mars, but with Mercury’s makeup 

An ultra-light planet discovered by astronomers around 31 lightyears away orbits its star in eight hours. 

The planet, GJ 367 b, has 55 per cent the mass of Earth, making it one of the lightest planets discovered to date, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the German Aerospace Center reveal. 

Astronomers have discovered an ultra-light exoplanet about 31 light years away that orbits its star in just eight hours

Astronomers discovered an ultralight exoplanet around 31 light years from Earth that orbits its star within eight hours. 

THE HABITABLE ZONE

The range of orbits around stars that a planet is able to support liquid water within the habitable area.

Temperature from the star must be “just right” so liquid water can survive on the surface.

It is crucial to determine the boundaries of the zone that is habitable.

A planet too close to its star will suffer a runaway greenhouse effect similar to Venus.

However, if the distance is too great, water can freeze as seen on Mars.

The concept has been presented many times since 1953. Many stars are known to possess a habitable zone.  

GJ367 b has an area of 5,560 miles. It is smaller than Mars (4.200 mi), but still retains the composition of Mercury.  

The exoplanet is likely rocky but with no lifeforms as it’s exposed to an ‘enormous’ amount of radiation, due to its small distance to its star – about 620,000 miles (1km). 

For comparison, Mercury’s average distance from our Sun is 36 million miles. 

GJ 367b orbits its parent star as the only planet known. Astronomers believe there may be more. 

GJ 367 b is an ultra-short-period (USP) planet – a type of exoplanet with orbital period less than one day, 

GJ 367 b lies close enough to the surface that it is possible for researchers to identify planet properties that have not been previously discovered by USPs.

For instance, the team determined that GJ 376 b is a rocky planet and likely contains a solid core of iron and nickel, similar to Mercury’s interior.

GJ376b, due to its proximity to the star, is estimated to receive 500 times the radiation as the Earth from the sun. 

As a result, the planet’s dayside boils at up to 2,700°F (1,500°C). Iron and rocks will melt at such high temperatures and all signs of life, including the existence of any significant atmosphere, would be long gone. 

The MIT researchers believe that there is still a possibility of living in another part of this system.  

TOI-2109b: “Ultrahot Jupiter”, exoplanet 

An ‘ultrahot Jupiter’ exoplanet has been discovered with blistering surface temperatures of 6,000°F.

The planet, dubbed TOI-2109b, also has an unusually short orbit of just 16 hours – the shortest of any known gas giant yet.

The planet, dubbed TOI-2109b, also has an unusually short orbit of just 16 hours – the shortest of any known gas giant yet

The planet, dubbed TOI-2109b, also has an unusually short orbit of just 16 hours – the shortest of any known gas giant yet

TOI-2109b, an “ultrahot Jupiter” exoplanet 

Temperature: 6,000°F

Mass: Jupiter’s five-times larger size

SizeJupiter is 35% bigger than ours 

Distance between star: 1.5 million miles 

The length of the yearTime: 16 Hours 

Jupiter, by comparison, takes twelve years to orbit the sun.

The discovery of the Jupiter exoplanet by MIT researchers could be a key to unlocking the secrets to how Jupiter was created.

Avi Shporer co-author, said, “Hot Jupiters have always been seen as weirdballs since the inception of exoplanetary scientific science.”

“How can a large and massive planet such as Jupiter be placed in an orbit of only few days? This is the first time we have seen anything similar in our solar system. We see it as an opportunity for us to learn more about them, help understand their existence.

NASA’s Transiting Explanet Survey Satellite, (TESS) was used to discover TOI-2109b at 855 lightyears from Earth.

Because of its tight orbit and close proximity to its star the day side of the planet is around 3.500 Kelvin or 6600 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers claim that this is the second most intensely sprayed object they have found so far.

“Meanwhile the planet’s evening side brightness is lower than the TESS data which raises doubts about what really is happening,” Dr Shporer explained.

Is there a temperature difference between the day and night? 

“We are at the beginning to try and answer this question about these superhot Jupiters.”

2M0437b is one of the youngest known planets

Astronomers found a ‘youngest planet ever discovered’ deep in space. It could help shed light on how planets form.

2M0437b is an ancient planet. It is believed to have a mass of ‘few more than Jupiter’, according to an international team of scientists.

Astronomers discovered 'one of the youngest planets ever found' 400 light-years from Earth. Exoplanet 2M0437b is 'several million years' old and estimated to be a 'few times more massive than Jupiter'

Scientists discovered the ‘youngest known planet’, 400 light-years away from Earth. Exoplanet 2M0437b has a life span of over 500,000 years and is estimated to be only a fraction more massive than Jupiter.

2M0437b’s lifespan is still young, so it still has the heat from its creation.

It has a temperature similar to ‘the lava erupting from Kīlauea Volcano,’ according to the statement announcing the discovery.

This planet is about 400 light-years away from Earth. It was discovered for the first time in 2018, using Subaru Telescope. 

Since then, researchers were studying the object with the Keck Observatory on Maunakea to make sure it was truly a companion to the 2M0437 star.

TOI-1518b Ultra-hot Jupiter, iron atmosphere

An interesting feature of a Jupiter-like, ultra-hot exoplanet discovered in deep space by Astronomers is that its atmosphere has iron.

This planet, also known as TOI-1518b was discovered when NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was looking at the star TOI-1518.

The planet was discovered while NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was observing the star TOI-1518

While NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite was looking at the star TOI-1518, NASA discovered the planet.

Yale University scientists made this observation and found that the planet is roughly 1.875 Jupiter in radius. The mass of the new planet is slightly less than Jupiter’s.

The researchers explained that they were inspired by the recent discovery of atomized and ionized substances in extremely hot Jupiter atmospheres. They then conducted an atmospheric cross correlation analysis.

“We have detected neutral iron… adding yet another object to our small collection of gas giant planets that are highly irradiated.” [iron]The study’s authors stated that detections of transmission were possible.

COCONUTS-2b: Oven temperature surface

With more than 4,000 exoplanets being confirmed and as many as 7,600 potential candidates, researchers at the University of Hawaii have directly imaged an extraplanet located 35 light-years from Earth. It is also the closest to Earth.

COCONUTS-2b is the name of the planet. It orbits its star at an estimated distance of 6000 miles, which makes it one the coldest-imaged exoplanets to date.

Astronomer finds exoplanet 35 light-years from Earth which has a surface temperature hot enough to bake cookies on at 320 degrees Fahrenheit

Exoplanet discovered by Astronomer 35 Light-years From Earth has surface temperatures hot enough for baking cookies at 320 Degrees Fahrenheit 

According to the statement, at 320°F, the exoplanet’s surface temperature is slightly less than what most ovens are used for baking cookies.

‘With a massive planet on a super-wide-separation orbit, and with a very cool central star, COCONUTS-2 represents a very different planetary system than our own solar system,’ the study’s lead author, Zhoujian Zhang, said in a statement.

NASA says Epsilon Eridani is the closest planet in our solar system. It orbits 10.5 light years away. 

COCONUTS-2b orbits a low mass red dwarf star and is part of the new COCONUTS-2 system.

Nu2 Lupi: There is no planet like it

After it unintentionally ‘photobombed” its star 48 light years away, a unique exoplanet was discovered. It has a mass nearly nine times Earth’s.

Scientists have confirmed that the world was discovered in Lupus constellation, also called Wolf. It is “sure to be an ideal target for future research” because it has ‘no known counterpart.

A unique exoplanet has been found after it unexpectedly 'photobombed' its star 48 light-years away. An artist's impression of the Sun-like Nu2 Lupi and its three planets is shown

After it suddenly ‘photobombed its star 48 light years away, a unique exoplanet was discovered. Artist’s impression showing the Sun-like Nu2 Lupi with its three planets.

What do we know about PLANET D IN NU2 LUPI?

One of the three newly discovered planets, d, orbits a Sun-like star named Nu2 Lupi.

It is 48 light-years from Earth, and Nu2 Lupi can host several transiting planets.

The masses of the planets “b”, “c” and “d” are similar to those on Earth and Neptune, with orbits that last 11.6, 27,6 and 107.6 day, respectively.

Planet d’s orbit would place it between Mercury, Venus and the Sun in our solar system. 

This is the first observation of an exoplanet transiting a star with enough brightness to see it clearly. 

Researchers discovered the ‘hugely thrilling’ discovery while investigating two planets within a nearby bright star system. 

The three of them orbit Nu2 Lupi (a Sun-like star) which hosts multiple transiting worlds. It is the only naked-eye star known to have three such stars.

With orbits of 11.6, 27.6 or 107.6 days respectively, the masses of planets b, c, and newly discovered d are similar to those found on Earth and Neptune, they have masses that range from Earth to Neptune.

The European Space Agency (ESA), has stated that none of them are habitable.

When the Hubble Space Telescope launches this year at the end, it will target planet ‘d’, which is a highly attractive target.

This, combined with the bright star that is its parent, long orbital time, and suitability to be followed-up, makes planet d extremely exciting.

David Ehrenreich (University of Geneva, Switzerland) said that the object is unique and has no equivalent. He also stated that it will be an excellent target for future research.

Hubble is a huge space satellite that allows scientists to study the atmospheres of distant exoplanets.

Conditions that are unique to distant stars and orbiting planets can often be unlike any we have seen in the atmosphere. 

Scientists must be able detect the atmospheres of these worlds to fully understand them and their contents.  

This is often done by using a telescope that looks like the Hubble Telescope of Nasa.

These satellites are huge and scan the skies to find exoplanets of potential interest. 

These sensors can perform various types of analysis. 

Absorption spectroscopy is one of the most useful and important. 

This type of analysis determines the intensity of light entering a planet’s atmosphere. 

A gas can absorb a slight variation in the wavelength of light. This is what causes a blackline to appear on the complete spectrum. 

These lines are a sign of a particular molecule that is present on our planet. 

They are often called Fraunhofer lines after the German astronomer and physicist that first discovered them in 1814.

Combining all of the wavelengths of light, scientists are able to identify all chemicals in the atmosphere of planets. 

What is missing is the key to finding out what’s there.  

This is crucial because the Earth’s atmosphere could interfere with it. 

The sample would be distorted by the absorption of chemicals from the atmosphere. This is why it’s important to examine the light before it reaches Earth. 

It is used often to search for hydrogen, sodium and oxygen in alien environments.  

This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of key compounds such as sodium or helium 

This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of key compounds such as sodium or helium