Recently, NASA disclosed the finding of a brand-new planet the size of Earth in the habitable region of the star TOI-700. We are two of the astronomers who were involved in finding the Earth like planet TOI-700.
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What is a habitable planet?
Habitable planets are placed at the right distance from their star and have a surface temperature that might support liquid water. Even though it is always exciting to uncover a brand-new, far-off planet that may inhabit, exoplanet research is moving beyond simply finding new planets.
Instead, scientists are concentrating their own efforts on locating and analysing systems that are most likely to provide important insights into the formation, evolution, and possibility of life in the cosmos. The fact that TOI-700 e is well equipped for future studies that may help address important questions regarding the circumstances of life outside the solar system makes it stand out from many of these other planet finds.
Scientists Discover Earth-Like Planet That Could Harbor Life
Most of the many more exoplanet discoveries in recent years were brought to your attention. In particular, there are just two possibly hospitable planets in the TOI-700 star system, including TOI-700 e. About 100 light-years from Earth, astronomers have observed a pair of exoplanets, and they believe one of them is a strong candidate for harbouring life.
Amaury Triaud, an exoplanet expert at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom and a member of the team that made the finding, tells New Scientist’s Alex Wilkins that the outer planet is near the inner border of what is known as the habitable zone, similar to how the Earth is.
Liquid water can exist on the surface of a planet in a star’s habitable zone. This exoplanet, according to Triaud, is the second-best prospect for hosting life out of all those detected in habitable zones thus far.
In a forthcoming study of a journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the team will describe its full findings.
According to a press statement, the potential planet is about 40% bigger than Earth and revolves around its star roughly every 8.5 days. According to Laetitia Delrez, an astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium and the paper’s lead author, “we expect the planet to be rocky” based on its size.
“We have not yet discovered rocky exoplanets as small as 1.4 Earth radii.”
Delrez tells Inverse that the planet is indirectly lock to its star. As a result, one side of the planet always lit by day and the other by night. While Earth revolves 93 million miles from our sun, it is only 3.7 million miles away, according to NPR’s Dustin Jones.
According to a press statement from Francisco J. Pozuelos, a co-author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, the exoplanet may still offer favourable conditions for life despite its proximity to the star it orbits. This is due to the sun’s 6.5 times smaller size and lower warmth compared its own.
However, several characteristics may be harmful to the planet’s potential habitability. According to Beth Biller, an astronomer at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. who did not participate in the research. It is larger than Earth and may be receiving a high level of radiation from orbiting close to its star, which is both arguments against it harbouring life.
The researchers found the exoplanet using telescopes from the SPECULOOS project, which stands for Search for Livable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars. According to Inverse, they first viewed this far-off solar system and verified the presence of another planet there, which had previously been discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey, or TESS. They discovered the second, more promising planet by continuing to look after the first one, which was too close to its star to support life.
TESS measures the brightness of stars to find planets. According to NPR, TESS can detect the brightness diminishing when a planet passes in front of a star and a satellite. The discovery is then followed up on by the ground-based SPECULOOS telescopes, which have a higher sensitivity to infrared light. According to Robert Lea of Space.com, cool stars like the one the newly discovered planet orbits radiate primarily infrared light, necessitating a second look.
The James Webb Space Telescope will then be used by the researchers to determine the composition of the planet’s atmosphere, if any. According to Inverse, Webb could help scientists understand the exoplanet’s potential for supporting life.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Question)
What is the only planet which has been identified to harbour life?
But the only place where life is known to exist in the universe is on Earth.
Have planets like Earth been discovered by scientists?
Scientists have discovered a planet the size of Earth named TOI 700 e that is surrounded by the habitable zone of its star, or the range of distances where liquid water might exist on a planet’s surface. NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite provided the data that led to the discovery of the planet.
Describe the planet. Is Earth the only planet known to harbour life?
The only site in the known galaxy where the existence of life has been established is on Earth, the third planet from the sun. The only planet whose surface is known to have liquid water is Earth, which is the fifth-largest planet in our solar system with a 3,959-mile radius. The names given to Earth are also unique.