Monday, 19 August, 2019

Planet hunters just spotted a new super-Earth that could support life

An artistic rendering of GJ 357 d a possible temperate super Earth only 31 light-years away that could have liquid water on its surface. Image Jack Madden  Cornell University 'Signs of Life' Picked Out As TESS Satellite Uncovers Its First Nearby Super-Earth
Sandra Phillips | 04 August, 2019, 16:40

Dr Diana Kossakowski, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, said: "GJ 357D is located within the outer edge of its star's habitable zone, where it receives about the same amount of stellar energy from its star as Mars does from the Sun".

How it would be if the newest discovery of a 31 light-years distance from our solar system, would be true? "With a thick atmosphere, the planet GJ 357 d could maintain liquid water on its surface like Earth, and we could pick out signs of life with telescopes that will soon be online", she said.

The super-Earth planet - named GJ 357 d - was found in mid-2019 inferable from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission meant to look over the sky for exoplanets, as per the examination distributed in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. Known as "GJ 357 d", NASA calls it "especially intriguing". Lisa Kaltenegger, the director of Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell and a professor in astronomy, announced that telescopes will begin their mission in 2021 and 2025, of exploring the planet to see if it will have oceans or if it'll be rocky.

"In a way, these planets were hiding in measurements made at numerous observatories over many years", said Rafael Luque, a doctoral student at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) on Tenerife who led the discovery team. The planets orbiting GJ 357 have their own pull on the small star, small reflex motions that scientists can track through tiny alterations in starlight. This exoplanet completes its orbit around the host star in 3.9 earth days and analysis revealed that it has an average temperature of 490 degrees Fahrenheit.

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It is not the first potentially habitable planet to have been discovered close to us. That planet was GJ 357 b, a so-called "hot Earth" about 22% larger than Earth, according to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which guides TESS.

There are many unknowns regarding GJ 357 d, including the planet's exact size and composition, for starters. If the planet was rocky, it would have a mass 6.1 times greater than Earth.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters on July 31. However, the system's outermost known sibling planet - GJ 357 d, a super-Earth - could provide Earth-like conditions and orbits the dwarf star every 55.7 days at a distance about one-fifth of Earth's distance from the sun.

And this goal benefits from the extensive collaboration practiced by this global community of researchers, said Patricia Boyd, head of the Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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