A team of international researchers, made up of scientists from Canada, the United States and Germany, reported that based on data collected by the NASA Kepler Space Telescope, they have discovered an exoplanet with twice the size of Earth.
This exoplanet that is located about 145 light years from Earth, in the Virgo constellation, and being named Wolf 503b.
The study was led by Merrin Peterson, a young PhD student at the Institute for Research on Exoplanetas (iREx) of the University of Montreal.
“Over the past decade, most of the planets found by NASA’s Kepler telescope are smaller than Neptune, but larger than Earth. However, recent studies of the distribution of planets within the range of 1 to 4 terrestrial radius have revealed a significant drop in the population between 1.5 and 2 terrestrial radius, which is known as the Fulton gap. The origin of this division is not well understood,” explained Peterson.
The specialists assure that studying the nature of Wolf 503b will give them a better panorama to understand the structures of the planets with that radius and distance with their host star, as well as an overview of exoplanet biodiversity present in our galaxy.
Having measured the radius of this exoplanet and the distribution rate of occurrence, Wolf 503b offers a decisive opportunity to better understand the origin of the Fulton gap.