Space & Astronomy
'Super Earth' discovered within distant star's habitable zone
By T.K. Randall
February 5, 2024 · 1 comment
An artist's impression of the newly found planet. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Astronomers have identified a potentially habitable extrasolar planet situated around 137 light-years away.
Ever since the first planet outside of our solar system was detected back in 1992, astronomers have been scouring the heavens for signs of other worlds that could mirror the conditions of our own.
As things stand, more than 5,600 extrasolar planets have been detected, but finding one with the correct size, mass and surface conditions to potentially support life has proven to be very challenging.
The latest candidate to be discovered is the rather unimaginatively titled TOI-715 b - a 'super Earth' situated 127 light-years away in orbit around a small, reddish star.
This relatively nearby world (cosmologically speaking) is around 1.5 times the size of our own planet and is situated in its star's habitable zone, meaning that liquid water could exist on its surface.
It was discovered by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) along with a second, smaller candidate planet in the same solar system.
"Planet TOI-175 b joins the list of habitable-zone planets that could be more closely scrutinized by the Webb telescope, perhaps even for signs of an atmosphere," the space agency wrote.
"Much will depend on the planet's other properties, including how massive it is and whether it can be classed as a 'water world' - making its atmosphere, if present, more prominent and far less difficult to detect than that of a more massive, denser and drier world, likely to hold its lower-profile atmosphere closer to the surface."
Source: Mail Online
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