How many planets are we discovering and in which regions of the world? Milky Way It inevitably depends on our observational position. That is why the ones we know are concentrated in a few thousand light years from Earth. A very limited distance compared to the stretch of more than 100,000 light-years of our galaxy. Understanding the distribution of the planets Existing in the vastness of the galaxy, including its center, becomes so very complicated.
led by some researchersOsaka University And from NASA They found a way to exceed this limit. The solution has come combine two elements: Observations based on gravitational microlensing and galactic prediction models. Thus the team was able to determine the distribution of planets in the Milky Way, discovering that it depends less than we thought on the distance from the bulge, the center of the galaxy.
He. She The study has been published that it Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Team feedback was based on microgravity, the observational effect predicted by Einstein’s general relativity. In this phenomenon, the curvature of space-time caused by celestial bodies acts cosmic magnifying glass: It bends the light of other distant stars, apparently increasing their image and amplifying their brightness. If the slow star hosts a planetary system, the planets’ gravitational fields can cooperate with their sun in shaping the cosmic curvature: each produces a short deflection from the light of the source star. Studying these factors allows us to discover the existence of planets cooperating with the cosmic lens, managing every mass and distance from their star. In this case, this phenomenon can be used to discover planets similar to Jupiter and Neptune throughout our galaxy.
“Gravity microlensing technology currently provides the only way to investigate the distribution of planets in the Milky Way,” he says. Daisuke Suzuki of Osaka University, co-author of the study. – But so far, little is known mainly because of the difficulty of measuring the distance of planets more than 10,000 light-years from the Sun.
If we have little information about the relationship between mass and distance between a planet and its star, it becomes impossible to determine the galaxy’s location for the system that generates the cosmic lens. Thus, it is not possible to determine the number of planets that cooperate in generating them. For this reason, the team relied on the second component of their combined strategy:Impasse It was actually solved thanks Predictive models describing the relative motion of a cosmic lens and a light source Folded in the micro-planetary lens, and thus be able to infer the correct galactic distribution of the planets.
The results that emerged from the intersection appear for our galaxy A planetary distribution that depends only weakly on the galactic center distance, swelling. Thus, planets orbiting far from their stars are everywhere in the Milky Way, including the galactic bulge, where planetary presences have been long and uncertain.
“The stars in the bulge are older and are located much closer to each other than the stars closest to the solar system – explains the lead author of the study, a NASA researcher. Naoki Kushimoto. – Having discovered that planets in both stellar environments can lead to a better understanding of how planetary systems form and evolve in the Milky Way.”
Featured image credits: Osaka University
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