VIDEO: Exoplanet candidate UCF 1.01

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If you haven’t heard, UCF has detected what could be its first planet – UCF 1.01.

The exoplanet, which is a planet that is orbiting a star other than our own Sun and is therefore not in our Solar System, is two-thirds the size of Earth and located 33-light years away.

UCF 1.01 is close to its star – so close it goes around the star in 1.4 days. The planet’s surface likely reaches temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The discoverers believe that it has no atmosphere and that its surface may be volcanic or molten.

“We have found strong evidence for a very small, very hot and very close-by planet with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope,” said Kevin Stevenson, a recent Ph.D graduate from UCF and lead author of the paper, which appears in The Astrophysical Journal. “This discovery is a significant accomplishment for UCF.”

Stevenson and his colleagues were studying a hot-Neptune exoplanet, designated GJ 436b, already known to exist around the red-dwarf star GJ 436, when data revealed clues that led them to suspect there could be at least one new planet in that system, perhaps two.

Spitzer scientists are eager to see what the future will bring.

“I hope future observations will confirm these exciting results, which show Spitzer may be able to discover exoplanets as small as Mars,” said Michael Werner, Spitzer Project Scientist at JPL. “Even after almost nine years in space, Spitzer’s observations continue to take us in new and important scientific directions.”

Read more about UCF 1.01 here.



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