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Space & Astronomy

Potentially habitable extrasolar planet discovered

By T.K. Randall
September 10, 2022 · Comment icon 8 comments

Have astronomers discovered Earth 2.0 ? Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Astronomers have announced that they have identified a relatively nearby exoplanet with the potential to host alien life.
Astrophysicist Laetitia Delrez of the University of Liege, and colleagues, discovered two 'super-Earth' planets orbiting a small, cool star known as LP 890-9 which is situated around 100 light-years away.

One of these worlds was previously identified by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), but the team had decided to use the ground-based SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) telescopes in Chile and Tenerife to take a closer look.

What they found was a second planet situated in the star's habitable zone - the region in which the temperature is sufficient to support the existence of liquid water.
Impressively, this makes this newly detected world (known as LP 890-9c), a prime candidate in the search for alien life.

"Although this planet orbits very close to its star, at a distance about 10 times shorter than that of Mercury around our Sun, the amount of stellar irradiation it receives is still low, and could allow the presence of liquid water on the planet's surface, provided it has a sufficient atmosphere," said study co-author Francisco J. Pozuelos of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia.

"This is because the star LP 890-9 is about 6.5 times smaller than the Sun and has a surface temperature half that of our star. This explains why LP 890-9c, despite being much closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, could still have conditions that are suitable for life."

A closer look at this intriguing world using the James Webb Space Telescope should help to determine more about its surface conditions and atmosphere.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jethrofloyd 2 years ago
Can we all from Earth move there?
Comment icon #2 Posted by SHaYap 2 years ago
Book your tickets now... Early bird discount available...  ~
Comment icon #3 Posted by jethrofloyd 2 years ago
Maybe the dinosaurs still live on that planet?
Comment icon #4 Posted by fred_mc 2 years ago
Highly doubtful whether those planets really close to their star are habitable. They are for example tidally locked so temperature would only be right in a narrow zone.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nnicolette 2 years ago
Go for it! Not all of them. I am guessing if there is liquid water it isn't, because it would evaporate off the bright side and freeze on the other. The temperature wouldn't be moderate enough, but even in that case there must be a band on the horizon that stays pretty nice.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Freez1 2 years ago
We live on one so there has to be other habitual planets we will find one soon or they will find us. That is if they haven’t already. The universe is pretty much endless so that makes the chance for another planet like ours better than slim.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Black Red Devil 2 years ago
100 light years away!  It's just down the road.
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin 2 years ago
Yeah, I don't know why some people are aggressively resistant to the thoughts of advanced, intelligent life on other planets.  Must be a narcissist thing I guess.

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