In 2007, NASA launched a satellite named “Kepler” a space telescope to hunt planets and its first mission was to search for exoplanet in November 2012. Kepler monitors the brightness of stars, and then scientists study the data and search for the winks for that light- the tell-tale sign of an orbiting planet.
But in 2013 scientists couldn’t able to direct the telescope instruments, which lead to end the mission. Then, engineers recover the telescope by designing a second mission dubbed K2 and then the information of 280,000 stars was gathered by it. So, Kepler had a lot of information and it was difficult for scientists to work on, although they needed to identify the stars, then they called citizen scientists to help Exoplanet Explorers, hosted on the Zooniverse platform. Citizen Scientists found the five-planet system in April, just after Exoplanet Explorers launched and immediately an astronomer confirmed about the system and of 4 planets and 5th as a possibility. The solar system’s planets are like sub Neptune planets, which have 1.3 and 3.3 times the radius of earth but not smaller than Neptune. This K2-138 system is interesting to scientists as each planet takes about 50% longer to orbit than the next closest planet to the star. The planets orbit is called a resonance chain.
By: Srishti Sharma