Two Earth Like Planets Found

 

 

 

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Two Earth Like Planets Found

20th June 2019 by keith

Astronomers discover two Earth-like planets orbiting one of the smallest stars ever found

  • Teegarden’s star sits just 12.5 light-years away and reaches about 2,700 °C
  • Researchers have now spotted two planets orbiting within its habitable zone
  • They say the planets are slightly heavier than Earth and could host liquid water

Scientists have discovered two Earth-like planets orbiting a star just 12.5 light-years away.

The newly-found worlds sit within the habitable zone of Teegarden’s star, a star said to be among the smallest measured yet.

Observations so far suggest the pair may share similarities to planets situated closer to the sun in our own solar system, though Teegarden’s star doesn’t get quite as hot.

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Scientists have discovered two Earth-like planets orbiting a star just 12.5 light-years away. The newly-found worlds sit within the habitable zone of Teegarden’s star, a star said to be among the smallest measured yet

Teegarden’s star is one of our solar system’s closest neighbors and reaches about 2,700 °C.

It’s roughly 10 times lighter than the sun.

In a new paper published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists have detailed the likely existence of two planets in its vicinity.

These were detected in an unusual way; instead of the typical ‘transit’ method, in which planets can be seen passing in front of their star, the position of the two new worlds allowed them to be detected passing in front of our sun.

According to the team, the data are a clear indication of their existence.

‘The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system,’ said lead author Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen.

 

They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form.’

Teegarden’s star was only discovered in 2003, and there is still much to be learned about the system.

It may even contain other planets beyond the two described in the new study, the authors say.

‘Many stars are apparently surrounded by systems with several planets,’ explains co-author Professor Stefan Dreizler.

These were detected in an unusual way; instead of the typical ‘transit’ method, in which planets can be seen passing in front of their star, the position of the two new worlds allowed them to be detected passing in front of our sun. This is illustrated above

In a new paper published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists have detailed the likely existence of two planets in its vicinity. Observations so far suggest the pair may share similarities to planets situated closer to the sun in our own solar system.

The discovery is the latest success from the Carmenes project, which was ‘specifically designed to search for planets around the lightest stars,’ the team says.

Whether the planets are habitable is still a mystery. But, but according to the team, if someone were to stand on the surface, they’d be able to see our own home looking back.

That is, using the traditional technique of searching for planets.

‘An inhabitant of the new planets would therefore have the opportunity to view the Earth using the transit method,’ says Professor Ansgar Reiners.

WHAT IS THE GOLDILOCKS ZONE?

The habitable zone is the range of orbits around a star in which a planet can support liquid water.

This habitable zone is also known as the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, taken from the children’s fairy tale.

The temperature from the star needs to be ‘just right’ so that liquid water can exist on the surface.

The boundaries of the habitable zone are critical.

If a planet is too close to its star, it will experience a runaway greenhouse gas effect, like Venus.

But if it’s too far, any water will freeze, as is seen on Mars.

Since the concept was first presented in 1953, many stars have been shown to have a Goldilocks area, and some of them have one or several planets in this zone, like ‘Kepler-186f’, discovered in 2014.

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