Three Turkish scientists made it into the history books of Turkish science when they announced the discovery of a Jupiter-like exoplanet 212 light years away from the solar system. “We are proud and happy,” Associate Professor Mesut Yılmaz who heads the team of scientists from Ankara and Ege universities.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Yılmaz, an academic from the Faculty of Science at Ankara University in the Turkish capital, says they have been working on a planetary search project for the past decade in the company of Japanese and Russian scientists.
Working in an observatory in the southern city of Antalya, Yılmaz, Professor Selim Osman Selam, Professor Varol Keskin and İbrahim Özavcı came across the exoplanet while observing changes in the stars. “It is slightly bigger than Jupiter and completes its full orbital cycle in about one year. It is a gas mass and there is no possibility of life,” he described the exoplanet that was circling a giant star. Scientists used a spectrograph installed on a Russian-Turkish telescope in the observatory and a 1.88 meter telescope and a spectrograph fiberfeeding system at Japan’s Okayama observatory.
In their research paper about the discovery that was published in academic journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists say that their study indicates that such lower mass planets in the range of Jupiter, even around giant stars, can be detected. “This discovery will be important in understanding the planet formation around metal-rich intermediate-mass stars and the effect of stellar evolution on the planetary system configuration,” the paper, quoted by the ScienceX website.
As for its name, the scientists are undecided yet but Yılmaz said it will most probably be named after Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey or may simply be named “Turk.”