Astronomers today said that they found a new batch of about 18 Jupiter sized gas giants that have been orbiting bigger stars than our sun, according to a report from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The study of newly found planets could help astronomers better understand how planets form and grow. The planets were announced on the occasion of another recent discovery of 50 newly found planets from another team of astronomer, bringing the list of identified alien planets well past 700.
John Johnson, assistant professor of astronomy said, “It’s the largest single announcement of planets in orbit around stars more massive than the sun, aside from the discoveries made by the Kepler mission”. Findings on the discovery were published in the December issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. The Kepler space telescope has so far identified more than 1,200 possible planets.
The Kepler’s findings are being confirmed using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii — with follow-up observations using the McDonald and Fairborn Observatories in Texas and Arizona. The researchers say that the findings lend further support to the theory that planets grow from seed particles that accumulate gas and dust in a disk surrounding a newborn star.