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The Montsec Astronomical Observatory discovers its first exoplanet


hotjupiter The new exoplanet, named XO-6b, is a hot Jupiter orbiting a rapidly rotating star.

The three XO telescopes installed in the United States, the Canary Islands and the Montsec made the discovery.
Artistic illustration of an exoplanets that orbits very close to its star. Credits: NASA, ESA & G.Bacon (STScl).
L’Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM) de l’Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) ha participat per primera vegada en el descobriment d’un exoplaneta, és a dir un planeta que orbita una estrella diferent del Sol, i per tant fora del Sistema Solar. Es tracta de l’XO-6b. L’any 2012 l’Institut del Telescopi Espacial Hubble va incloure l’OAdM en el projecte XO que té com a objectiu trobar exoplanetes gegants que girin al voltant d’estrelles brillants. El descobriment s’ha publicat a la revista Astronomical Journal.

“Els instruments XO de Utah als Estats Units, l’Observatori del Teide a les Illes Canàries i el de l’observatori del Montsec a Catalunya actuen coordinadament com si es tractés d’un únic telescopi” ha explicat Kike Herrero, astrònom de l’IEEC.

“Des de l’OAdM no només hem participat en el descobriment del XO-6b amb l’instrument XO” assenyala Herrero, “sinó que, a més, el nostre telescopi Joan Oró ha participat en la caracterització del nou exoplaneta”.

A hot Jupitert

XO-6b is a hot Jupiter. That means that it is a very large planet that doubles the mass of Jupiter as well as its size; And hot because it is very close to its star. “It’s also a little-known system because the exoplanet takes four days to complete its orbit around the star, while the star rotates on itself in just two days, it’s called a fast rotator.”

The study of this system will allow us to know more about the dynamics and interactions of the planet and its star. Herrero has also explained that the atmosphere of XO-6b could be very interesting, as it seems warmer and more swollen than predicted models in this type of exoplanet.


XO_instrument_montsec The Montsec Astronomical Observatory (OAdM) is a scientific infrastructure managed by the Institute of Spatial Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) under an agreement with the General Directorate of Research of the Generalitat of Catalonia. It consists of four facilities dedicated to astronomy research and two measurement stations for meteorological and environmental quality studies.
XO Instrument at OAdM
The main objective of OAdM is to provide tools to carry out leading astronomical research and provide the support needed to exploit the available facilities. Several institutes and universities have actively contributed with scientific and technical supervision, as well as providing the necessary resources for the development of the project: the Institute of Spatial Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), the University of Barcelona (UB), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia UPC), the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Joan Oró Foundation (FJO).
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