Although it appears just as a bright little dot on the night sky, Jupiter is much more important for the development of life on Earth than most people know. Being the biggest planet from our solar system, Jupiter has such high gravity that it attracts a lot of the asteroids that get too close. The gas giant acts like a vacuum cleaner of the solar system.
But if you thought that Jupiter is massive enough, you know what they say about nature having endless possibilities. Astronomers just discovered Kepler-88 d, a planet about three times more massive than Jupiter and with an orbital period of 4 years.
Located in the Lyra Constellation
The newfound exoplanet orbits the Kepler-88 star, which is located in the Lyra Constellation at roughly 79,411,397.06 AU away from Earth.
The discovery of the new exoplanet was made at the W. M. Keck Observatory from Hawaii. Its High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) instrument mounted on the Keck telescope did the cosmic job. Astronomers knew for several years that there are already another two exoplanets within the same Kepler-88 system: Kepler-88 c and Kepler-88 b. Finding another exoplanet raises more questions among the astronomers, as the lead author Dr. Lauren Weiss himself suggests:
At three times the mass of Jupiter, Kepler-88 d has likely been even more influential in the history of the Kepler-88 system than the so-called King, Kepler-88 c, which is only one Jupiter mass,
So maybe Kepler-88 d is the new supreme monarch of this planetary empire – the empress.
As one AU (Astronomical Unit) is equal to the distance between Earth and the Sun, you can easily guess that there’s no way humanity will ever reach the Kepler-88 system with the actual technology. Our only theoretical chance would be a wormhole, which is a shortcut between space and time.
A paper about the new discovery was published in The Astronomical Journal.