Brian Jackson, an assistant professor in Boise State’s physics department, is also part of a consortium led by research scientist Elisabeth Adams known as “SuPerPiG,” aka the “Short Period Planets Group.”
The group, which is funded by NASA to find planets that orbit for very short time periods very close to their host stars, is celebrating a success. The group found and confirmed two new planets that have been officially recognized by scientists at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at CalTech.
“Over the last few decades, astronomers have found planets in almost every nook and cranny that they can inhabit,” said Jackson in a statement. “These ultra-short-period planets are another example of the surprisingly wide variety of planets in our galaxy and may help us to understand the origins and early histories of planetary systems like our own.”
“The lead author of the study, Elisabeth Adams, says many more systems like this remain to be found and we’re enlisting the help of Boise State students,” said Jackson.
In his blog, Jackson wrote that the group found the planets by looking for their shadows as the passed in front of their host stars, a method for planet hunting known as the “transit method.”
According to Jackson, the new planets are both bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. The planets are both closer to their sun than any of the planets in our solar system.
The new planets have names: The first ultra-short-period planet has been assigned the name K2-106. It circles its star EPIC 220674823 every 13 hours. The second planet, K2-106 c, has a longer orbit around EPIC 220674823 — 13.3 days.
Read more about the new planets on Jackson’s blog, astrojack.com.