New Planet Discovered in Distant Solar System Is Hotter Version of Saturn

Scientists have discovered a new exoplanet in an alien solar system that is a hot version of Saturn. The exoplanet—a type of planet that is beyond our current solar system—was dubbed EPIC 247098361 b, and is similar to our own ringed neighbor in mass but, unlike Saturn, has an equilibrium temperature of 1,030 K on the Kelvin temperature scale.

According to a recent study, the newly identified planet was discovered during NASA’s Kepler mission last year, but the space object was only just recently confirmed to be a planet, Phys.org reported. It's 33 percent larger than Saturn and classified as a “warm Saturn,” due to its temperature. The planet orbits its star, EPIC 247098361, every 11.2 days. It's also considered to be a giant planet due to its heavy element content, which is about 20 Earth masses.

Related: Water on hot exoplanet surprises scientists, tells solar system’s origin story

03_06_nightsky Yet another planet in the night sky has been identified. MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images

Most of these planets have been discovered using NASA’s Kepler space telescope, a complete observatory station located in space with the sole purpose of locating far-away planets. The telescope spots these planets by looking at their shadows as they pass stars. First launched into space in 2009, the Kepler telescope has since led to the discovery of thousands of planets outside our own solar system.

Related: NASA Kepler’s K2 mission scientists discover 95 new planets beyond our solar system

The search for exoplanets is often centered on looking for a distant planet in the habitable zone, a range of distance from a star that would allow a planet to have liquid water, and therefore may be able to host life.

While EPIC 247098361 b is not in the habitable zone, its discovery is no less exciting. According to the study on the new planet, EPIC 247098361 b will help scientists better study the atmospheres of low-irradiated giant planets. The planet will also shed light on how giant planets at moderate distance from their stars orbit.