Congratulations to the researchers and volunteers with the Exoplanet Explorers project, with the announcement today that they have discovered four new planets orbiting a distant star.

These planets have been nominally named EE-1b, EE-1c, EE-1d, and EE-1e and are orbiting a star similar to our own sun, but located six hundred light years away in the Aquarius constellation. Each of them is approximately twice the mass of the Earth, but they have years that last between three and thirteen days. Being so close to their parent star also makes them very hot, so it is unlikely that anything is living on them.

This discovery is also fascinating because, while thousands of exoplanets have been discovered over the last twenty years, this is one of only seventy-four systems that are known to have four or more planets in them.

As well as this four planet system, this volunteer project has also discovered several other interesting planets orbiting distant suns. Three seem to be close to being confirmed as actual planets, while a further 180 candidates that volunteers have found are currently being studied in more detail to determine if they are genuine exoplanets or just anomalies in the data. 

Considering that all of these discoveries were completed by an army of volunteers in just two days, this is really an amazing result and a confirmation of the value of citizen science projects! I am honoured to have been a part of such an amazing project!

The full details and names of the volunteers who discovered them can be viewed here.