Well, extraterrestrial planets outside the solar system are being discovered every other day now. But Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity played a part in the discovery of a new one. The new planet, called ‘Einsteins’ Planet’ is a Jupiter Sized planet that revolves around its Sun in just 1.5 days. With a diameter 25% times bigger than that of Jupiter, the planet is 2,000 light years away from the earth, in the constellation of Cygnus.
Researchers user Einstein’s Theory to find out the new planet, nearly 60 years after his death.
Team member David Latham in a news release, said, “We are looking for very subtle effects. We needed high quality measurements of stellar brightness, accurate to a few parts per million.”
The researchers tried to detect three subtle effects that has to happen whenever a planet revolves around a star. Known as Einstein’s Beaming effect, it makes the star shine even more when it moves towards ‘us’ as it is ‘pulled’ by the planet and not as bright when it moves away. The brightening up results from the photons gathering energy, and light getting focussed along with the star’s direction due to ‘relativistic effects’, according to one release.
Apart from these, gravitational force as well as starlight reflected by the planet was considered when locating the planet.
In the news release, Tsevi Mazeh of Tel Aviv University, co-author of the study, said, This is the first time that this aspect of Einstein’s theory of relativity has been used to discover a planet.”
Till date more than 800 extraterrestrial planets have been discovered and some are even presumed to have habitats suitable for life. Of course, being the light years away from us that they are, it would take a lot more advancement of technology to actually determine if life exists outside.