Two new exoplanets known as super-Earth planets have been discovered, one of which may be habitable.
James Brizuela | Published
Astronomers seem to keep making amazing discoveries. More stars, galaxies, and planets are being studied in greater detail with sophisticated telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope. Scientists have now discovered two of her super-Earth planets orbiting a red dwarf star about 105 light-years away. What makes this discovery all the more exciting is that astronomers speculate that at least one of these planets could be habitable.
Based on the distances of both discovered exoplanets, one of the super-Earth planets was determined to be in the “habitable zone.” This is an exciting discovery because exoplanets are found in the habitable zone and rarely have rocky surfaces similar to Earth. These planets were discovered by data collected from NASA’s TESS Exoplanet Survey Telescope. It just sounds like a cool telescope name. Known as LP 890-9 (aka TOI-4306), the red dwarf star is one of the exoplanets that astronomers believe was orbiting between us and the star. was being studied when it was discovered. These transits, or transits, occurred over 2.7 days. A lot of data can be collected from these transits, allowing scientists to determine the planet’s orbital period and planet diameter based on how much the star’s light dims from the planet’s orbit. .
I had to use other equipment to collect more data. Colder stars like the studied LP 890-9 emit most of their light in the infrared, which NASA’s TESS telescope can’t pick up as well. More telescopes were used, called the SPECULOOS (Search for Habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) consortium. These telescopes can pick up near-infrared wavelengths emitted by TOI-4306 (a red dwarf star). This confirmed the existence of LP 890-9b, one of his star-orbiting super-Earth exoplanets. The team then searches further for worlds that TESS may have missed, discovering an additional planet called LP 890-9c. This planet is farther away than the first discovered planet and has an orbital period of 8.4 days.
Using radial velocity measurements, astronomers were able to determine the mass and gravitational pull of these super-Earth planets. They determined that LP 890-9b is 1.32 times the diameter of Earth and 12 times its mass. LP 890-9c is about 1.37 times the diameter of Earth and up to 25 times its mass. These planetary measurements are consistent with rocky worlds such as Earth, Mars, and Venus. No match for icy worlds like Jupiter and Neptune.
More data are needed to determine, but LP 890-9c’s further super-Earth planets may be life-bearing planets. The problem is that this plant-orbiting red dwarf is much cooler and fainter than the Sun. The planet is in the habitable zone where water can be maintained on the planet, but that doesn’t mean the planet’s atmosphere is favorable to humans. More data is being collected about Earth’s atmosphere, and it may tell us whether it’s habitable in the coming months.