Some 25,000 light years away is an icy giant planet that looks just like Uranus.
The team of scientists from Ohio State University and Warsaw University Observatory of Poland found the extrasolar object. They didn’t name it Uranus II or junior, or anything like that, instead they titled it OGLE-2008-BLG-092LAb. It’s actually bigger than Uranus, about four times as big and is located in a binary star system found in the constellation of Sagittarius. The two stars of the system are named 092LA and 092LB. The planet itself orbits around 092LA at a distance that is also similar to that of Uranus and our Sun.
Using what is called gravitational microlensing says Dr. Poleski. This phenomenon occurs when one star’s light magnifies another star’s light like that of a lens to a camera. In this case it happened twice, once in 2008 and 2010 leading to the discovery. As of this date only microlensing can detect these big ice planets.
The task was achieved by using the 1.3m Warsaw Telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
The extra importance of this discovery is that the techniques used can now be solid for finding other giant ice planets like Neptune and Uranus. Finding one icy giant in a binary star system is a real coup. Now astrophysicists, astronomers, and make better calculations and use other tools for examining the exo planets.
The expansion of exo planet research is growing and as scientists discover more variations of planets it helps them to understand how planets form and how they function regarding their stars. The real goal is to find earthlike and earthsized bodies located in what is known as the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ of a star like our Sun where we know life as we know it could exist.