TESS spots closest super-Earth that could be habitable

Sunday, 04 Aug, 2019

An atmosphere could cause it to be warmer. If made of rock, this planet may be around twice Earth's size. Plus, it's one of the closest of the 45 exoplanets confirmed to date, a mere 31 light-years away. TESS cameras chanced upon the star in February, when it was caught dimming slightly every 3.9 days, making the presence of a transiting exoplanet known.

NASA has revealed that the telescope has discovered three exoplanets that scientists believe will be "among the most curious targets for future research".

"We've discovered only a few planets like this within the habitable zone, and plenty of fewer around a quiet star, so that is uncommon", mentioned Stephen Kane, a UC Riverside associate professor of planetary astrophysics, in a separate statement. It orbits 11 times closer to its star than Mercury does our Sun. This does not account for any potential warming effects of an atmosphere if it has one.

The surface of exoplanet GJ 357 c, for instance, is estimated to be about 260 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Kaltenegger.

"We do not know but if planets" atmospheres are in a position to survive the high-radiation setting of an M dwarf when it is actually younger, so that is going to be a tremendous alternative to check that, ' Dr Winters instructed Reside Science.

The team hope to determine whether rocky planets like Earth and massive icy worlds develop along the same formation path, or through different processes.

Its predecessor, space-based telescope Kepler, surveyed only one patch of sky and uncovered thousands of exoplanet candidates. As it falls in a Goldilocks zone, it is capable of trapping enough heat to war itself and allow liquid water on its surface. However, the system's outermost known sibling planet - GJ 357 d, a super-Earth - could provide conditions just like on Earth and orbits the dwarf star every 55.7 days at a distance about 20 percent of Earth's distance from the Sun. "It took TESS to point us to an interesting star where we could uncover them".

Astronomers used information from the ground-based telescopes to confirm GJ 357 b's existence. On the other hand, the observable cosmos is over 14 billion light-years across.

Other co-authors of the study include Sarah Rugheimer, Oxford University; Antigona Segura, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); Rafael Luque and Eric Pallé, both of the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and the University of La Laguna; and Néstor Espinoza, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany. Launched in 2018, led and run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, TESS has been on the lookout for these exact types of discoveries.

NASA's planet hunting satellite has completed its first year of science in space.