Astronomers have discovered a planetary system almost like ours just 35 light-years distant with a potentially habitable planet, reported Forbes on Thursday.
The planetary system includes a star and three planets. The three planets include an ocean world, a planet with half the mass of Venus and a potentially habitable planet within the star’s habitable zone.
‘System system 2.0?’
Astronomer María Rosa Zapatero Osorio, at the centre of Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain has stated: “The planet within the habitable zone may have an environment that would protect and support life.”
María is one among the authors of the study published on Thursday in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
According to the researchers, the findings round the star — dubbed as L 98-59 — might be a symbol of things to return for contemporary astronomy.
The star hosts rocky planets like Earth and Venus, which are close enough to the star to be warm.
Olivier Demangen, a researcher at the Space Science Institute, University of Porto, Portugal, said that astronomers are chasing terrestrial planets since astronomy was first created. He added that now astronomers have finally gotten on the brink of the detection of a planet within the habitable zone of a star.
For L 98-59, researchers are using the exoplanet-hunting ESPRESSO instrument on the ecu Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile.
What can we realize the Star L 98-59 so far?
The following has been uncovered by researchers:
1.Three previously known planets might contain water in their interiors or atmospheres.
2.The closest planet to the star — dubbed L 98-59a — has half the mass of Venus.
3.The two closest planets to the star (L 98-59a and L 98-59b) may need water.
4.It is estimated that 30% of L 98-59c’s mass might be water — the third planet has been dubbed because the ocean world.
5.There is also a fourth planet L 98-59d.
6.There are suspicions of another fifth planet — L 98-59d — where liquid water might exist.
What lies ahead?
Astronomers shall study the atmosphere of the earth to work out biosignatures like oxygen and methane. Determination of the biosignatures can point towards scientific evidence for the presence of past or current life, however, current telescopes lack the facility to review atmospheres.
In future, it’s expected that astronomers could be ready to discover more using the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) when it becomes operational in 2027.
Among all the findings, the foremost important one is deciding the mass of the earth closest to the star to assist understand what the earth is formed of. Astronomers hope to calculate this using the speed method.
The minimum things required for the speed method are the planet’s mass and radius.
It is said that the L 98-59 are going to be studied by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), to be launched in October this year.
The $9.7 billion telescope weighs 6 tonnes, features a primary mirror with a diameter of 21 feet/6.5 metres, and is formed from 18 gold-plated beryllium hexagonal mirror segments.
The telescope will have a vastly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity compared to Hubble — and a way higher resolution than any ground-based telescope.