Keck: Nature's Magnifying Glass Reveals Unexpected Intermediate-Mass Exoplanets

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Keck: Nature's Magnifying Glass Reveals Unexpected Intermediate-Mass Exoplanets

Post by bystander » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:56 pm

Nature's Magnifying Glass Reveals Unexpected Intermediate-Mass Exoplanets
W.M. Keck Observatory | 2019 Jan 08

Microlensing Reveals Sub-Saturn Giant Planets are Common, Not Rare

Astronomers have found a new exoplanet that could alter the standing theory of planet formation. With a mass that’s between that of Neptune and Saturn, and its location beyond the “snow line” of its host star, an alien world of this scale was supposed to be rare. ...

Using the Near-Infrared Camera, second generation (NIRC2) instrument on the 10-meter Keck II telescope of the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawaii and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope, the researchers took simultaneous high-resolution images of the exoplanet, named OGLE-2012-BLG-0950Lb, allowing them to determine its mass. ...

In an uncanny timing of events, another team of astronomers ... published a statistical analysis at almost the same time showing that such sub-Saturn mass planets are not rare after all. ...

WFIRST Exoplanet Mass-measurement Method Finds a Planetary Mass
of 39 ± 8 M for OGLE-2012-BLG-0950Lb
~ A. Bhattacharya et al Microlensing Results Challenge the Core Accretion Runaway Growth Scenario for Gas Giants ~ Daisuke Suzuki et al
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