Published: Sun, August 04, 2019
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

TESS finds potentially habitable super-Earth 31 light-years away

TESS finds potentially habitable super-Earth 31 light-years away

"With a thick atmosphere, the planet GJ 357 d could maintain liquid water on its surface like Earth and we could pick out signs of life with upcoming telescopes soon to be online", she said.

"All of the planets are expected to be tidally locked to the star, which means they only rotate once every orbit and keep the same side facing the star at all times, just as the moon does in its orbit around Earth".

The smaller planet is in fact in the habitable zone, meaning it's at a distance from a star that is warm enough to heat its water to a liquid state.

Studying Earth's near neighbors could help scientists understand how planets of intermediate diameter form-and the newly uncovered system, named TESS Object of Interest (TOI) 270, might just be the flawless laboratory for the job, study author Maximilian Günther of MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research said in a statement.

The potentially habitable planet due to loads of water assumed to be stored in its depths, and two neighbouring worlds were discovered making the rounds around a dwarf star, which is around a third the size and mass of our own Sun and 40% cooler. This provides an indication of a transiting planet moving across the star's face.

Near to GJ 357 d is GJ 357 b, which has been dubbed a "hot Earth" and is around 22 percent bigger than the planet we call home. As they were working to confirm the planet that TESS spotted, they noticed gravitational pulls from two others.

Kaltenegger, doctoral candidate Jack Madden and undergraduate student Zifan Lin simulated light fingerprints, climates and remotely detectable spectra for the planet, which could range from a rocky composition to a water world.

GJ 357 d's mass is at least 6.1 times Earth's, and the planet orbits its tiny star every 55.7 days.

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"We describe GJ 357 b as a 'hot Earth",' said Enric Palle, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands.

This infographic illustrates key features of the TOI 270 system, located about 73 light years away in the southern constellation Pictor. The distant solar system also has three planets, one of which is the GJ 357 d.

Then, the following year, it will scour the northern sectors.

'And you can nearly expect, if there are more planets, the next one would be somewhere further out, at another integer ratio'.

TESS is a NASA Astrophysics Explorer mission led and operated by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The observatory is four toes throughout (1.2 meters), not counting the photo voltaic wings, that are folded for launch, and weighs just 800 kilos (362 kilograms).

NASA says it's somewhere between the size of a refrigerator and a stacked washer and dryer.

It can take Tess two weeks to circle Earth.

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