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Two ‘super-Earth’ planets discovered — and one could potentially host life

TWO Earth-like planets have been discovered in outer space, one of which may have the required circumstances for life to evolve.

The planets are known as LP 890-9b and LP 890-9c, and they exhibit many of the important characteristics that astronomers look for when searching for life in the universe.

Both are stony, terrestrial planets with a hard surface that are devoid of gases.

Their host system is the second coldest star with planets in orbit, and Nasa refers to it as a "Goldilocks star" because its constant, relatively temperate emissions are suitable for lifeforms.

The findings will be published in the scholarly journal Astronomy & Astrophysics as part of a future study.

Finding a planet that has many of the similar circumstances as Earth is a momentous cosmic finding; one of the worlds meets even more exact specifications for producing and sustaining life.

LP 890-9c is located in its host star's "habitable zone."

“The habitable zone is a concept under which a planet with similar geological and atmospheric conditions as Earth, would have a surface temperature allowing water to remain liquid for billions of years,” said Amaury Triaud, professor of Exoplanetology at University Birmingham and leader of the research.

“This gives us a license to observe more and find out whether the planet has an atmosphere, and if so, to study its content and assess its habitability.”

LP 890-9c is 40% larger than Earth and completes an eight-and-a-half-day orbit around its host star.

According to a press release from the University of Birmingham, the James Webb Space Telescope could be useful in observing the atmosphere of LP 890-9c.

“It is important to detect as many temperate terrestrial worlds as possible to study the diversity of exoplanet climates, and eventually to be in a position to measure how frequently biology has emerged in the Cosmos,” Professor Triaud said.

Because of the great distance between the LP 890-9 system and Earth's telescopes, our observations took place 100 million years ago.

Light from a star that no longer exists may have travelled millions of kilometres to reach our space observatories.

Reference(s): Astronomy & Astrophysics

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