USQ team help discover 'Super-Earths' orbiting nearby star

USQ team help discover 'Super-Earths' orbiting nearby star

With this one, they only found planets that pass through the line of sight between their stars and Earth, so only a part of the exoplanets.

An artist's impression of the multiplanetary system of super-Earths orbiting the nearby red dwarf star Lacaille 9352.

The research, which was published in Science, holds a lot of promise, but we don't yet possess the technology to view these Earth-alikes in greater detail.

The most visible red dwarf star from Earth is a red-hot orb known as Gliese 887.

The team monitored the system using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at the European Southern Observatory in Chile and analyzed almost two decades of archival data on the star.

According to the report, one of the planets orbits Gliese 887 every nine days and the other every 21 days. Researchers estimate that the temperatures on Gliese 887c would be about 70°C.

The planets are located near their star's habitable zone - an area where liquid water could exist.

Express reports a group of global astronomers detected the presence of a system made up of "super-Earth" exoplanets orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 887, which is located 11 light-years away from Earth.

The radial velocity method to detect exoplanet
The radial velocity method to detect exoplanet

'In the era of space-based exoplanet-hunting telescopes like NASA's Kepler and TESS, this result shows that astronomy from the ground continues to play a crucial role in our understanding of planets in our local neighbourhood, ' said Dr Simon O'Toole, a co-author on the study from Macquarie University. More active stars are prone to unsafe flares, which could easily destroy a planet's atmosphere.

This means that the newly discovered planets may retain their atmospheres, or have thicker atmospheres than the Earth, and potentially host life, the team wrote.

"The other interesting feature we discovered is that the brightness of Lacaille 9352 is nearly constant".

The team also detected a signal further away that could correspond to a possible third planet that could be even more suitable for life.

This makes it a prime target for the James Webb Space Telescope, a successor to the Hubble Telescope that is due to launch in the next year.

Also known as Gliese 887, GJ 887 and HD 217987, this red dwarf lies in the southern constellation of Piscis Austrinus.

"These planets will provide the best possibilities for more detailed studies, including the search for life outside our Solar System", study lead author Dr. Sandra Jeffers said in a press release from the of the University of Göttingen. But most of those planets orbit distant and faint stars, ' he said. Planets tend to orbit these stars so closely, putting them in range of intense solar flares and radiation.

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