Scientists detect and validate the longest-period exoplanet found with TESS | Science & Technology

Scientists from The University of New Mexico (UNM), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have detected and validated two of the longest-period exoplanets found by TESS to date. These long period large exoplanets orbit a K dwarf star and belong to a class of planets known as warm Jupiters, which have orbital periods of 10-200 days and are at least six times Earth’s radius. This recent discovery offers exciting research opportunities for the future of finding long-period planets that resemble those in our own solar system.

The research titled, TOI-4600 b and c: Two long-period giant planets orbiting an early K dwarf will be published in a future issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The exoplanets, TOI-4600 b and c, were detected using photometric data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and followed up with observations using the telescopes on the ground since they provide better resolution.

The observing strategy adopted by NASA’s TESS, which divides each hemisphere into 13 sectors that are surveyed for roughly 28 days, is producing the most comprehensive all-sky search for transiting planets. This approach has already proven its capability to detect both large and small planets around different kinds of stars. In the case of TOI-4600, the star is a K dwarf star, also known as an orange dwarf, which are stars slightly smaller and cooler than the Sun.

Exoplanets must transit their host stars at least twice within TESS ‘s observing span to be detected with the correct period by the Science Processing Operations Center (SPOC) pipeline and the Quick Look Pipeline (QLP), which search the 2-minute and 30-minute cadence TESS data, respectively. Because 74 percent of TESS’ total sky coverage is only observed for 28 days, the majority of TESS exoplanets detected have periods less than 40 days. Therefore, TOI-4600 b’s 82.69-day, or nearly 3-month, and TOI-4600 c’s 482.82-day, or 16-month, periods make their discoveries even more…

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