Qatar astronomer Dr Khalid Al Subai has become instrumental in the discovery of a new alien planet, working in collaboration with scientists from the UK and the US. This hot Jupiter, now named Qatar-1b, adds to the growing list of alien planets orbiting distant stars, or exoplanets.
Qatar-1b is a gas giant 20 percent larger than Jupiter in diameter and 10 percent more massive. It belongs to the hot Jupiter family because it orbits 3.5 million km from its star – only six stellar radii away. The planet roasts at a temperature of around 1100 degrees Celsius.
Khalid, leader of the Qatar exoplanet survey and a research director at Qatar Foundation teamed up with scientists from Universities of St Andrews, Leicester and Keele in the UK and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in the US to discover a new alien world.
Building on UK technology developed for the SuperWASP exoplanet survey, the St Andrews and Leicester teams worked with Al Subai to establish the computer systems used to process raw images from the Al Subai cameras, extracting and sifting through data from hundreds of thousands of stars.
The team has submitted their results to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.