IMAGE: Artist’s rendering of a 10-million-year-old star system with a gas-giant planet like Jupiter. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
Let’s talk about the GOT’EM survey and its first results. Soon to be published in Astronomical Journal, this new paper presents the discovery of a gas giant that orbits very far away from its star. And while the paper may only use the acronym once, the press release uses it a lot. In fact, they refer to this planet as GOT’EM-1b. It’s roughly five times the mass of Jupiter, and it orbits Kepler-1514, about 1300 light-years from Earth.
Most importantly, GOT’EM-1b orbits every 218 days. That’s exciting. As lead author Paul Dalba explains: Taking 218 days to orbit a star is an order of magnitude longer than most giant exoplanets we’ve measured. Kepler discovered thousands of planets, and only a few dozen had orbits of a couple hundred days or longer.
The gas giant exoplanets we have found up until now orbit close to their stars, and many seem to have migrated inward over time. Since this newly discovered gas giant is still far out from its star, we may have found a clue to how our own gas giants have stayed in place. Observing giant planets close to their stars is also difficult because the radiation causes the planet to puff up. GOT’EM-1b doesn’t have that problem, which makes it a prime candidate for follow-up observations by the Roman Space Telescope. We might even be able to find out if it has moons!
“Giant Outer Transiting Exoplanet Mass (GOT ‘EM) Survey. I. Confirmation of an Eccentric, Cool Jupiter With an Interior Earth-sized Planet Orbiting Kepler-1514,” Paul A. Dalba et al., to be published in The Astronomical Journal (preprint on arxiv.org)