Science

New Planetary Discovery Is An Important Step For Finding Another Earth

New Planetary Discovery Is An Important Step For Finding Another Earth

Despite its proximity to its star, Ross 128 b only absorbs about 1.38 times as much radiation as our planet, giving the Earth-sized world a hospitable equilibrium temperature in the range of -60 to 20 °C (-76 to 68 °F).

It is the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star. The signal was later explained to likely be a geostationary satellite in Earth orbit, but today's announcement puts Ross 128 back in play as a star system potentially capable of hosting life.

Ross 128b orbits 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun but gets less radiation than Earth.

They must find oxygen to figure out if it could be a good host planet for human colonisation or whether life already exists there. Earth's in an ideal position to have liquid water: close enough to - but far enough from - the sun.

Such a tight orbit would render Ross 128b uninhabitable in our own solar system. Also a red dwarf, it's considered an active star, meaning it frequently burps out intense, high-energy solar flares. The HARPS instrument, which is mounted aboard a 3.6-meter optical and near-infrared telescope, does not directly observe exoplanets, but instead watches for a minute wobble in the motion of a host star created by the gravitational influence of an orbiting world. "Only HARPS has demonstrated accuracy and remains the best planet hunter of its kind, 15 years after it started operating", said study co-author Dr Nicola Astudillo-Defru, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, as quoted by Daily Mail, Wednesday (11/15/2017). "In the meantime, we need to better constrain theoretical models to elucidate if liquid water can be found on Ross 128 b's surface".

Two things to keep in mind: We don't know yet if Ross 128b has an atmosphere or, if it has one, whether that atmosphere has the proper composition to support life as we know it. But researchers have more work to do before they can say whether life really is possible on Ross 128 b.

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Astronomers have found an Earth-sized planet with mild temperatures that's also relatively close to our Solar System.

An artist's conception shows the planet Ross 128b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. Méndez's team wasn't looking for extraterrestrial signals; they were hoping to learn how red dwarf flares interacted with exoplanets. "Some models made by theorists say that a wet Earth-size planet with such irradiation would form high-altitude clouds".

But a new giant telescope is being built in Chile - aptly named the Extremely Large Telescope, or ELT - which could use to peer into this planet's atmosphere.

"Stellar activity is probably the highest concern regarding the emergence of life, and even the survival of an atmosphere, on planets orbiting M dwarfs", the paper reads.

Earlier this year, scientists said that they had received odd pulses coming from the star.

Maybe. This is the plucky star's second time in the spotlight this year.