Meet Elisabeth Newton, Astronomy Prof, Discoverer Of A New Planet

Sep 12, 2019

It wasn't a typical first week at work: meet your colleagues, get settled in, confirm the existence of a new planet about 900 trillion miles from earth. But for physics and astronomy professor Elisabeth Newton, that's exactly how she started her new job at Dartmouth College earlier this year.

It's called DS Tuc Ab, a roughly 45-million-year-old planet about 150 light years away. It is an exoplanet because it's located outside our solar system. Newton describes it as a gaseous planet similar to Saturn.

As the same time, she says it's far hotter than any of the planets closest to our sun, like Mercury or Venus.

Newton led a team of researchers from schools around the world, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University Texas at Austin, during their search.

The planet was observed by NASA late last year and then confirmed as a planet in March, with findings of the teams' observations published in late July in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Newton joined Vermont Edition to describe the new planet, what we can learn from it and the effort that went in to ultimately identifying DS Tuc Ab.

Broadcast live on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.