A team of international researchers discovered two new “super-Earth” planets. Both planets are larger than Earth and are less than 100 light years away. And one of them may even be suitable for life.
The Super-Earths fall in a unique group of exoplanets of the solar system. They are larger in size than our planet, but are lighter than the ice giants, according to NASA. The researchers have observed that the planets could be up to 10 times larger than Earth’s mass.
The findings were made by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. Working in collaboration with the University of Liège’s Search for Habitable Planets Eclipsing Ultra-Cool Stars (SPECULOOS), NASA scientists have been trying to find other habitable planets. The study will be published in the Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The first planet was named LP 890-9b or TOI-4306b after being captured by NASA’s satellite. It was later confirmed by SPECULOOS. The team has confirmed that the planet is about 30% larger than Earth. It has a radius of over 5,200 miles and takes just 2.7 days to orbit its sun.
The second planet LP 890-9c, or SPECULOOS-2c, has been known to scientists for some time now. This planet has turned out to be more interesting after a review of its characteristics. It lies slightly further away from its star than the first planet. It is also quite large, being about 40% larger than the earth with a radius of 5,400 miles.
“Although this planet orbits very close to its star, at a distance about 10 times shorter than that of Mercury around our sun, the amount of stellar irradiation it receives is still low, and could allow the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface, provided it has a sufficient atmosphere,” study co-author Francisco Pozuelos said.
With the discovery of the two planets, the researchers are planning to study the atmospheres of each planet to determine just how habitable they are. According to the researchers, if the atmosphere is warm enough, it could retain water in liquid form, which is the basis for life.
Lead image via Pexels