May 28, 2017 | Updated: 08:42 PM EDT

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A Massive Exoplanet Bigger Than Jupiter is Discovered Using Gravitational Microlensing

Apr 19, 2017 10:38 AM EDT

Digital illustration released on Feb, 22, 2017 shows an artist's concept of the exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star.
(Photo : NASA/Getty Images) Digital illustration released on Feb, 22, 2017 shows an artist's concept of the exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star.

Astronomers have detected another exoplanet using the gravitational microlensing technique. The new planet is three times more massive than Jupiter.

The new exoplanet orbits a distant star at the 21,000 light years away and designated as MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb according to Phys.org. The discovery of a huge and massive size exoplanet was first detected on May 5, 2016. A group of astronomers from Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) at the University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand detected the MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb using the 1.8 m MOA-II telescope.

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Later on, further observations followed in Hawaii to confirm the exoplanet MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb. The observations used four telescopes, namely the United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope (UKIRT) 3.8m telescope, the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the Keck II telescope. Astronomers at the ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile and Israel's Wise Observatory also participated in observation, using VLT Survey Telescope (VST) in Chile and the Jay Baum Rich 0.71m Telescope (C28) in Israel.

The result from those observations has enabled research team from the Osaka University in Japan led by Naoki Koshimoto to detect the planet and to determine the basic parameters of MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb. The researchers later published their work on April 6 at the Cornell University Library. MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb is the super planet with 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, and its parent stars is an M or K dwarf stars, which estimated to be around 0.29 solar masses.

Gravitational microlensing is a method to detect the new extrasolar planets that orbiting and circling its parent stars. It is known to be a unique technique in astronomy, by using the gravitational lens effect to observe the distribution of objects around the distant light sources.

The gravitational microlensing technique enables astronomers to observe an object with low and no light. NASA scientist has also used a similar technique to discover seven exoplanets 40 light years away. Watch the press conference of the NASA finding of the exoplanets on Feb. 22 below: