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Brazilian astronomers discover 2 planets near sunlike star

Two new planets, super Neptune and Super Earth, have been discovered by a team of Brazilian astronomers

Jorge Melendez

According to Brazil’s G1 news website, the two new planets, dubbed “super Neptune” and “super Earth,” are the first to be discovered by Brazilian astronomers since the discovery of a planet similar to Jupiter in 2015.

Astronomer Jorge Melendez, a professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Sao Paulo, said one of the objectives of the team was to compare the solar system with other planetary systems.

He said “the planetary environment around HIP 68468 is quite different from the system that includes Earth.”

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“The newly discovered planets were similar to Earth and Neptune.”

Melendez said research indicates that the star HIP 68468 has “swallowed” a planet, due to the presence of high levels of lithium, an element that is usually abundant in planets, not stars.

The discovery was made at the European Southern Observatory in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert.

Report says the planets rotate very close to their star, which suggests they may have migrated from a more exterior to a more interior region of their planetary system.

The report noted that “Super Neptune, called HIP 68468c, has a mass that is 50 per cent greater than the planet Neptune.

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“But while our Neptune is far from the sun (30 times the distance between the Earth and Sun), the orbit of the new planet is only 70 per cent of the Earth-Sun distance.

“Super Earth, or HIP 68468b, has a mass that is three times larger than Earth’s, and its orbit is barely 3 per cent of the distance from Earth to the Sun.

“That means that it is “practically stuck to its star,” HIP 68468, which is 6 billion years old and some 300 light years away from Earth,’’ G1 said.

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