Since the beginning of 2022, NASA has discovered 10 new “exoplanets”, bringing to light distant and mysterious worlds.
We are only six weeks away from 2022 and NASA is already shedding light on distant and mysterious worlds.
The US space agency has discovered ten exoplanets since the start of the year – and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, The sun reports.
Exoplanets are planets outside our solar system. Thousands have been discovered since the 1980s.
In addition to being potential places of extraterrestrial life, they offer opportunities to better understand the evolution of the universe.
According to NASA’s Exoplanet Database, of the ten exoplanets discovered this year, six are larger than Jupiter.
They include HD 69123 b, which is three times the size of the gas giant and is 245 light-years from Earth.
It orbits a K-type star, according to NASA, and takes more than three years to make each trip around its host.
A number of smaller exoplanets have also been discovered by astronomers.
They include LTT 1445 A c, a potentially rocky world that is one and a half times the size of Earth.
It takes just over three days to orbit its host, an M-type star about 22 light-years away.
So far, NASA has cataloged nearly 5,000 exoplanets scattered across 3,600 near and distant star systems.
They come in all shapes and sizes, including gas giants, Neptune-like ice worlds, and so-called Super Earths.
A Super Earth, such as LTT 1445 A c, has a mass greater than that of our planet less than that of the ice giants Uranus and Neptune.
The first planet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star was confirmed in 1995, and the technology for finding them has come on leaps and bounds since then.
Many exoplanets in the Nasa database have been discovered using the Kepler and TESS space telescopes.
They are specially designed to discover distant worlds by scanning stars, looking for the telltale “wink” of starlight produced when they are traversed by an orbiting planet.
“Right now, we know, for the first time, that minor planets are very common,” Sara Seager, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a pioneer in exoplanet research, told NASA’s website.
“It’s phenomenal. We had no way of knowing before Kepler. We will simply say, colloquially: they are everywhere.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced with permission