Unbelievably Rare, Almost Impossible Super Earth Observed by Scientists
Scientists have just discovered an impossibly rare “Super Earth”, which could potentially contain conditions that could sustain human life. This planet was just discovered by astronomers in New Zealand who are saying that this planet “is one of only a handful that have been discovered with both size and orbit comparable to that of Earth.” The findings can be found inside of a study in the Astronomical Journal.
This study has estimated that the Earth-like planet’s host star has only about 10% the mass or our sun, and the planet that is orbiting it has a larger mass than our Earth. Not to mention that is it also orbiting its host star from a comparable distance, but despite these amazingly rare conditions, the scientists are saying that this planet could be very cold because of the fact that the star it is orbiting is vastly smaller than our sun.
The New Zealand’s University of Canterbuy, co-author of the study Michael Abrow stated to USA Today, “Although it’s not too much bigger than Earth, and orbiting its star at a similar distance, this planet would be very cold because its star is smaller than the sun and emits much less light. Water could not exist in a liquid state, and the likelihood of life would be very low. Only a very few planets have been detected that may have suitable conditions for life.”
This might not seem like a big deal, however the size of the host star does make every bit of difference, and not when it comes to just the climate of the planet. Because of the star’s mass the planet would have a 617 day year. Antonia Herrera-Martin is leading the study at the University of Canterbury, and said that her team made the discovery using gravitational microlensing. “The combined gravity of the planet and its host star caused the light from a more distant background star to be magnified in a particular way. We used telescopes distributed around the world to measure the light-bending effect,” she said.
There’s a couple other details about this planet, like its distance from our own solar system, that are currently not available in the online version of the study. A year ago, another team of observers had found a planet that has the potential to be habitable and it contained water. These findings were then published inside of Nature Astronomy. The lead scientist in this study, Prof Giovanna Tinetti from the University College London has claimed that this planet appears to be inside of the perfect zone to create an environment to sustain life, just like we have here on Earth.
Tinnetti stated that this was the first the researchers were able to observe the presence of water on a planet inside this habitable zone with just the right temperature. This habitable zone is called the “goldilocks zone,” which is the space around a star that creates a climate on a planet to be in just the right place to create conditions for liquid water and maybe, life. However, it’s not likely that humans will be able to reach this planet in the near future, definitely not in our lifetimes. The estimated distance from Earth to this planet is about onehundred and eleven light-years, or roughly 650 million-million miles from planet Earth.