Three new planets now carry the name Qatar, Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b and Qatar-5b, discovered by Qatar Exoplanet Survey.
Researchers at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute of the Qatar Foundation have located three new exoplanets using optical telescopes located on various locations on Earth. The discovery came through the ongoing efforts of the Qatar Exoplanet Survey, funded by the the Qatar National Research Fund.
With their dedicated telescoped located around the globe, in New Mexico, USA, Tenerife, Spain and Urumqi, China the team identified the new planets using tens of thousands of images collected over time.
The three new discoveries have been officially named Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b and Qatar-5b, in collaboration with the International Astronomical Union.
Exoplanets are planets found orbiting stars similar to our sun, outside of our own solar system. These three exoplanets in particular belong to a class of planets astronomers call “hot Jupiters”. Hot Jupiters are planets similar in size to the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, and are relatively close to their star, hence the prefix ”hot”. Because of the close proximity between the planets and their star surface temperatures may range between 1200 and 3000 degrees Celsius.
To us a year is typically 365 days, or the time it takes out planet, Earth to make a full orbit around our star, the sun. Hot Jupiters however, can complete a full orbit in 1 to10 days, making a year on a hot Jupiter a lot shorter than we have them on Earth.
As for the three newly discovered exoplanets, their sizes between range between 1 and 1.5 times that of Jupiter, or 12 to 17 times larger than planet Earth. And in space distance, they are relatively close as 1400 to 1800 light years away, one light year equalling 10 trillion kilometers,which in the vastness of space is not that far.
The three new planets are the newest addition to the previously discovered Qatar-1b and Qatar-2b, the nation’s contribution to to modern astronomy.