Two Earth-like exoplanets found in the habitable zone of a nearby star

NASA’s TESS spacecraft found two worlds that could support life due to their close proximity to their sun, which is 137 light-years from Earth.

A group of international astronomers has detected two “super-Earth” exoplanets orbiting within the habitable zone of a nearby star. Each of these newly discovered worlds is slightly larger than our planet, and both revolve around the same red dwarf star. The exoplanets were detected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) as they crossed, or “transited,” the face of their parent star, TOI-2095, which lies about 137 light-years from our Solar System. . This transit caused “dips” in the star’s light, and analysis of these dips revealed the presence, as well as some features, of the two planets.

As a red dwarf, TOI-2095 is part of the largest family of stars in the universe. Despite being cooler than the Sun, red dwarf stars are known to experience violent bursts of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation in their youth. This radiation could destroy the atmospheres of planets orbiting relatively close. As a result, scientists aren’t sure whether planets with a red dwarf habitable zone, defined as the range of distances from a star in which liquid water could remain stable on a world’s surface, are truly hospitable to life. Earth-like life.

This makes the two planets orbiting in the habitable zone of this red dwarf, which have been designated TOI-2095 b and TOI-2095 c, respectively, tantalizing prospects for further investigation by astronomers. The distance between the closest planet to the red dwarf, TOI-2095 b, and its star is about one tenth of the average distance between Earth and the sun. The exoplanet, which is 1.39 times wider than our planet but up to 4.1 times its mass, takes around 17.7 Earth days to orbit the star.

The second planet in the system, TOI-2095 c, is slightly further out than its counterpart; it takes 28.2 Earth days to orbit the red dwarf. This world has a diameter of about 1.33 times that of Earth and is up to 7.5 times the mass of our planet. The planets are likely to have surface temperatures between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 165 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 74 degrees Celsius), the researchers said. The team behind the discovery published on the arXiv scientific repository, which was led by astronomer Felipe Murgas from the University of La Laguna in Spain, noted that the relatively long orbital periods of these two planets could provide crucial data that can help shed light. about the processes that shape the composition of small planets that orbit red dwarfs.

The worlds are in the habitable zone of their solar system. The discovery of these two exoplanets further demonstrates the power of NASA’s TESS mission. Since its launch in April 2018, the exoplanet hunter has found around 330 confirmed alien worlds, as well as more than 6,400 candidates awaiting follow-up study or analysis.

The team now intends to follow up on the discovery of the two super-Earths by making precise measurements of their radial velocity. Using these measurements, they can better estimate the masses of TOI-2095 b and TOI-2095 c, which would allow the densities of the planets to be more precisely determined. This could help astronomers find out if these two planets have managed to preserve their atmospheres.