They find a horrific world identical to Earth 72 light years away that would be inhabited
Scientists have confirmed the existence of K2-415b, an Earth-sized exoplanet 72 light-years away.
An international team of astronomers has confirmed the existence of K2-415b, an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting an M dwarf star just 72 light-years away. The team also compiled some statistics about the star and its planets and posted the results on the arXiv preprint server.
In an ongoing effort to find out if life exists on other planets close enough to study, scientists have narrowed their focus to specific entities. They start by looking for stars that seem suitable to host planets that might support life. Planets orbiting such stars can be detected by the small oscillations that the planet’s gravity exerts on the star.
Location of EPIC 210363145 (star) with respect to the Pleiades (blue) and Hyades (red) clusters. The arrows show the relative magnitude and direction of the proper motions. The stars of the Pleiades belong to the catalog of Stauffer et al. (2007) and the Hyades stars are from the catalog of Röser et al. (2011). The 13.1 pc tidal radius of the Pleiades Cluster estimated by Adams et al. (2001) is drawn as a circle.
Next, determine the planet’s position relative to its star: Space scientists prefer planets that are clearly in transit because they can collect more data about the planet. For example, light from a star passing through a planet’s atmosphere can be used to learn more about the composition of that atmosphere. Also, the amount of light blocked by a planet can be used to calculate the size of the planet. Such data can be used to calculate a planet’s distance from the sun, one of its most important characteristics for its potential to support life.
Researchers with the new effort discovered the new star while analyzing data from the Kepler telescope. They confirmed this finding by studying the TESS data.
By studying K2-415b and its host star, the team found that it is very similar in size to Earth, although much more massive. It also spins closer to its host, taking just four Earth days to complete one revolution.
Such a close orbit puts it too close to habitability, even though the host star is much cooler than the sun. But the planet appears to have an atmosphere, which means it qualifies for further investigation. And it still seems likely that there are other planets orbiting the host star, which means that the K2-415 star system will continue to be the focus of future research efforts.