Astronauts discover a solar baby adorned with three hot worlds

The Pisces-Eridanus stream spans 1,300 light-years, spreading over 14 constellae and a third of the sky. Yellow dots indicate where members are known or suspicious, with TOI 451 circled. TESS observations indicate that the burn is about 120 million years old, compared to the famous Pleiades group in Taurus (top left). NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Astronomers using NASA’s Satellite Survey Transiting Exoplanet (TESS) have seen an interesting young star named TOI 451, which has three hot planets in orbit around it.

TOI 451 is very similar to our sun, but although the sun is around 4.6 billion years old, this star is a cousin at just 120 million years old. That means studying it can teach us how our solar system has evolved. It is also about 95% of the mass of the sun although it is 12% smaller and emits only about two thirds of the energy.

“This system scans many boxes for astronauts,” lead researcher Elisabeth Newton said in a statement. “It is only 120 million years old and just 400 light-years away, allowing detailed views of this young planetary system. And with three planets between two and four times the size of the Earth, they make very promising targets for testing theories about how a planet’s atmosphere grows. ”

The planets orbiting the TOI 451 sit very close to the star, with all three of them closer to the TOI 451 than Mercury is to the sun. That means they are hot, with temperatures ranging from 2,200 ° F for the interior to 840 ° F for the farthest ones. A pair of companion stars in the system also move far beyond the planets.

This image highlights the main features of TOI 451, a three-planet system located 400 light-years away in the constellation Eridanus.
This image highlights the main features of TOI 451, a three-planet system located 400 light-years away in the constellation Eridanus. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

TOI 451 and their planets live in a “recently discovered” river of stars called the Pisces-Eridanus stream. This stream is 1,300 light-years long, covers a third of the sky, and is made up of stars that are less than 3% of the earth’s age. Researchers originally thought the burn was older because young stars can have dark spots like sun spots that cause changes in their brightness. But on a closer look at TESS, researchers can see that the stream was made up of very young, fast-spinning stars.

“Thanks to TESS coverage almost entirely, measurements that could support a study for planets orbiting members of this orbit were already available when the eclipse was identified,” said Jessie Christiansen, co-author of the paper. “TESS data will continue to allow us to push the boundaries of what we know about exoplanets and their systems for years to come. ”

The discovered planets make a good observation spot as telescopes evolve, with devices like the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope able to determine if an exoplanet has an atmosphere.

“By measuring a star’s light entering a planet’s atmosphere at different waves, we can detect its chemical representation and the presence of clouds or high hazards,” explained Elisa Quintana, another co-author. “TOI 451 planets offer excellent targets for such studies with Hubble and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. ”

The research is published in the Astronomical Journal.

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