Qatar exoplanet project announces the discovery of three new exoplanets

The three new hot Jupiters are the first discovered by Qatar since 2011.
By | Published: June 23, 2016 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
NASA, ESA and G. Bacon
Artist’s impression of Corot-1b, a Hot Jupiter exoplanet like the three recently discovered by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey.

The Qatar Exoplanet Survey announced the discovery of three new exoplanets in a paper accepted for publication at the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The three planets are called Qatar-3b, Qatar-4b, and Qatar-5b. All three are “hot Jupiter” planets, gas giants in orbits spanning just a few Earth days around their parent stars. 3b and 5b are roughly the same mass, at 4.31 and 4.32 Jupiter masses, while 4b is about 5.85 Jupiter masses. All three are slightly larger than Jupiter as well, with 4b weighing in as the largest at 1.55 times Jupiter’s radius. 3b orbits in 2.5 days around its parent star, while 4b takes 1.8 days, and 5b takes 2.87 days. All three parent stars are roughly the size of the sun. 

The planets were discovered using the transit method, where dips in starlight give away the presence of a planet. Through the analysis, the astronomers also discovered the Qatar-5 is a metal-rich planet, meaning it comes from later, newer generations of stars that utilize heavier elements in stellar fusion alongside hydrogen-helium fusion.

As the names imply, these are the third, fourth, and fifth planetary objects found by the Qatar Exoplanet Survey. All five planets discovered are hot Jupiters, which are easier to detect due to their large size and swift orbits, making transit events more common. The last planet found by the survey was in 2011. Since that time, the survey has upgraded their systems and added more telescopes.