The Hubble telescope, a member of the International Space Station and National Academies’ most celebrated astronomical instrument, finally got a chance to check in with some of the most distant planets ever discovered. Five “transiting” planets were found — they pass between their star and us, each in different ways, exposing the planet’s surface to our eyes. One of them is The Magellan Star System, named after a relative of the planet’s namesake, which appears as it passes in front of its parent star and lingers for several hours.
The new planets are 2,000 light years away, many billions of light years away from our own solar system, but astronomers say that they may be more akin to Earth, which was found to have ancient environments, and are now easier to detect because there is less oxygen in the atmosphere. They may be their “number one analog” to the planet that will have its own visit from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which will investigate the composition of Pluto and its moons after it’s learned in 2015, more than a billion miles away, what actually is there.