Two New Planets Found in Milky Way
Israel’s Tel Aviv University team leads discovery of giant planets, similar in size to Jupiter, in remote corner of the galaxy
Tel Aviv University researchers led the recent discovery of two new planets in remote solar systems within the Milky Way galaxy. They identified the giant planets, named Gaia-1b and Gaia-2b, as part of a study in collaboration with teams from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the body’s Gaia spacecraft.
The development marks the first time that the Gaia spacecraft successfully detected new planets. Gaia is a star-surveying satellite on a mission to chart a 3D map of the Milky Way with unprecedented accuracy comparable to standing on Earth and identifying a 10-shekel coin (roughly the size of a U.S. nickel) on the Moon.
TAU’s Prof. Shay Zucker, Head of the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, and doctoral student Aviad Panhi from the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics & Astronomy led the initiative. The findings were published in the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
More Discoveries on the Horizon
“The discovery of the two new planets was made in the wake of precise searches, using methods of artificial intelligence,” said Prof. Zucker. “We have also published 40 more candidates we detected by Gaia. The astronomical community will now have to try to corroborate their planetary nature, like we did for the first two candidates.”
The two new planets are referred to as “Hot Jupiters” due to their size and proximity to their host star: “The measurements we made with the telescope in the U.S. confirmed that these were in fact two giant planets, similar in size to the planet Jupiter in our solar system, and located so close to their suns that they complete an orbit in less than four days, meaning that each Earth year is comparable to 90 years of that planet,” he adds.
Giant Leaps for Astronomy
There are eight planets in our solar system. Less known are the hundreds of thousands of other planets in the Milky Way, which contains an untold number of solar systems. Planets in remote solar systems were first discovered in 1995 and have been an ongoing subject of astronomers’ research ever since, in hopes of using them to learn more about our own solar system.
To fulfil its mission, Gaia scans the skies while rotating around an axis, tracking the locations of about 2 billion suns, stars at the centre of a solar system, in our galaxy with precision of up to a millionth of a degree. While tracking the location of the stars, Gaia also measures their brightness — an incomparably important feature in observational astronomy, since it relays significant information about the physical characteristics of celestial bodies around them. Changes documented in the brightness of the two remote stars were what led to the discovery. Aviad Panhi explains: “The planets were discovered thanks to the fact that they partially hide their suns every time they complete an orbit, and thus cause a cyclical drop in the intensity of the light reaching us from that distant sun.”
To confirm that the celestial bodies were in fact planets, the researchers performed tracking measurements with the Large Binocular Telescope, in Arizona, one of the largest telescopes in the world today. The telescope makes it possible to track small fluctuations in a star’s movement which are caused by the presence of an orbiting planet.
The discovery marks another milestone in the scientific contribution of the Gaia spacecraft’s mission, which has already been credited with a true revolution in the world of astronomy. Gaia’s ability to discover planets via the partial occultation method, which generally requires continuous monitoring over a long period of time, has been doubted up to now. The research team charged with this mission developed an algorithm specially adapted to Gaia’s characteristics and searched for years for these signals in the cumulative databases from the spaceship.
Signs of Life?
What about the possibility of life on the surface of those remote new planets? “The new planets are very close to their suns, and therefore the temperature there is extremely high, about 1,000 degrees Celsius, so there is zero chance of life developing there,” explains Panhi. Still, he says, “I’m convinced that there are countless others that do have life on them, and it’s reasonable to assume that in the next few years we will discover signs of organic molecules in the atmospheres of remote planets. Most likely we will not get to visit those distant worlds any time soon, but we’re just starting the journey, and it’s very exciting to be part of the search.”
Innovative Ideas and Breakthroughs from NMIMS MPSTME Civil Engineering
The department has published two patents, research papers at international conferences
The Civil Engineering department of NMIMS MPSTME has been making significant strides in the field of disaster management, flood resilience, and sustainable infrastructure. The department has published two patents, research papers at international conferences, and completed several student-led projects on topics such as renewable energy, groundwater modelling, and self-healing concrete.
The first patent, ‘Automated Flood Water Regulating Multipurpose System,’ proposes a novel approach to flood resilience by constructing multipurpose wells on the banks of rivers to discharge excess water and generate hydropower. The second patent, ‘Aqua Barrier,’ is an automated mechanism that can protect any flood-prone area, regardless of its size, from any disasters caused due to water.
The student-led projects are equally impressive, with topics ranging from low-volume rural concrete roads to oscillating tidal wave energy converters. These projects showcase the department’s focus on sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and innovative design.
The faculty at NMIMS MPSTME Civil Engineering department, led by Head, Dr. Meenal Mategaonkar and Research coordinator, Dr. Jigisha Vashi, played a vital role in guiding and mentoring students toward research excellence. Their expertise and guidance have enabled students to participate and win awards in prestigious competitions such as the CDRI’s ‘Imagining Disaster Resilient Structures’ and The University of Queensland’s ‘Engineering Design Challenge, and AAKAR at IIT Bombay.’
The department’s success is further evidenced by the achievements of its students in national and international conferences. Students presented their research papers in Scopus Indexed papers and conferences such as the 9th Indian Young Geotechnical Engineering Conference and the Eighth Indian Young Geotechnical Conference.
Dr. Meenal Mategaonkar, Head of the Civil Engineering Department, MPSTME, NMIMS, said, “The achievements of the NMIMS MPSTME Civil Engineering department demonstrate its commitment to developing innovative solutions for complex problems in the field of civil engineering. The department’s focus on sustainable infrastructure, disaster resilience, and renewable energy is essential for addressing the challenges faced by society today. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of both students and faculty and their commitment to excellence.”
Embark on a Journey of Scientific Empowerment with NMIMS School of Science’s Innovative Programs!
The school is known for its strong emphasis on academic excellence, research, and innovation, and is recognized as one of the leading science schools in the country
SVKM’s NMIMS Sunandan Divatia School of Science (SDSOS) has officially announced the commencement of the admissions process for its Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral programs. The school is known for its strong emphasis on academic excellence, research, and innovation, and is recognized as one of the leading science schools in the country.
Aspiring students who are interested in pursuing a career in the field of science can now apply for various undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs offered by SDSOS. The Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) programs are available in Applied Psychology, Biomedical Science, and Animation and VFX, while the Master of Science (M.Sc.) programs are offered in Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Applied Psychology, and Physiotherapy. The school also offers Ph.D. program in Science with various disciplines such as Chemistry, and Biological Sciences.
With a focus on creating industry-ready and research-savvy graduates, SDSOS has been at the forefront of imparting cutting-edge knowledge and practical skills through constantly evolving curriculums and state-of-the-art facilities and is situated in the heart of Mumbai.
Dr. Purvi Bhatt, I/C Dean, Sunandan Divatia School of Science, said, “The school provides a dynamic and inclusive learning environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and innovation. Our interdisciplinary approach to education prepares students for successful careers in science and beyond, while our emphasis on co-curricular and extracurricular activities ensures their holistic development.”
The school has a student-centric environment that supports research in niche areas of Science & Technology, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and equipment to enhance students’ hands-on skills, and a library facility that is constantly updated with the latest information. The labs at SDSOS provide modernised infrastructure and the latest equipment such as the animal tissue culture lab and the wet labs at the department of Biological Sciences offer cutting-edge technology to mould students into scientists.
School of Science offers a wide range of opportunities for students to explore their talents and interests, as well as gain valuable practical experience. The events and activities mentioned, such as Excalibur, National Science Day, Open day, Guest talks, Book Talk, Sports Day, Psych Film Fest, and club activities like photography and art, these programs provide a platform for students to demonstrate their abilities and gain insights from their peers.
The Future of Architecture Takes Center Stage at NMIMS BSSA
Leach is a co-founder of Digital FUTURES and an academician at the Academy of Europe
NMIMS Balwant Sheth School of Architecture was excited to host Open Studio 2022-23 program by the renowned architectural theorist and digital design expert, Neil Leach, on 28th March 2023 and the title was, “Tell me that AI ain’t scary”
Leach is a co-founder of Digital FUTURES and an academician at the Academy of Europe. Leach has published over 40 books on architectural theory and digital design, including “Architecture in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction to AI for Architects” and “The AI Design Revolution: How AI Will Transform Architecture.”
In the lecture, Leach highlighted the potential threat that artificial intelligence (AI) poses to the field of architecture. With the recent launch of GPT4 and the growing capabilities of AI, there is concern among architects that their jobs may be at risk. Leach provided an informed overview of the current state of AI and its potential impact on the architecture profession.
“We are very happy and proud to host Professor Neil Leach at the school. As a leading school of architecture, we are committed to providing our students with a comprehensive education that equips them with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the rapidly evolving field of design. Our Open Studio program and public lectures, and talks by experts like Neil Leach, play a critical role in this mission by enabling students to learn from distinguished scholars and practitioners and engage with cutting-edge ideas and technologies. We are excited to continue providing these opportunities and look forward to seeing the impact they will have on the future of architecture and design,” said, BSSA Dean, Dr. Kaiwan Mehta. As the field of architecture continues to evolve, it is essential to stay informed about emerging technologies and their potential impact on the profession. NMIMS BSSA School enables students to learn from experts and engage with pressing issues in architecture and design. By inviting renowned scholars and practitioners like Neil Leach to share their insights and expertise, the school provides a valuable opportunity for students to expand their knowledge and deepen their understanding of the field.
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