A peculiar discovery was made by an international team of astronomers who, operating NASA’s TESS space telescope, managed to spot a planet orbiting a star that travels far "above" the plane of our galaxy, Science Alert reports.
According to the media outlet, the planet, named LHS 1815b due to the fact that it orbits star LHS 1815, is roughly the size of Earth, though its mass is apparently up to 8.7 times that of our planet.
While at the time of the planet’s detection the star it orbits was located mere 97 light years away from Earth, LHS 1815 appears to be moving into the so called "thick disk" part of the galaxy (located around the "thin disc" where most of the stars are situated, with its estimated maximum distance from the galactic plane reaching 5,870 light years.
"The TESS survey can provide a large sample of solar neighbourhood transiting planets across the whole sky. All planet host stars are bright enough to have their RV [radial velocity - the planet-identifying wiggle] measured by the Gaia survey," the team states.
As no thick disk planets have apparently been spotted until now, the scientists now hope that their discovery will help study "the difference in the planet evolution between the thin and thick discs."