Astronomers discover what could be habitable world “just around the corner” – Ensenem de Ciência

Artist’s rendering of Wolf 1069b orbiting a red dwarf star. (Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter).

Astronomers are currently searching for habitable worlds so that they can be studied. However, the task is not easy because simply detecting exoplanets is very complex. A planet that appears promising has recently been discovered, where possible signs of life can be detected.

A team of astronomers announced the discovery of Wolf 1069 b, a planet of similar mass to Earth that orbits its star at just the right distance to have liquid water on its surface, making it a potentially habitable world. is referred to as. This rare exoplanet is only 31 light years away, raising hopes of studying it later, at least for astronomical purposes.

‘When we analyzed data from Star Wolf 1069, we found a clear, low-amplitude signal from a nearly Earth-mass planet. “It orbits the star every 15.6 days at a distance equal to one-fifteenth the distance between Earth and the Sun,” Diana Kossakovsky, lead author of the paper, said in a statement.

Wolf 1069 b orbits much closer to its host star than Earth and the Sun, but receives less radiation; The Earth receives about 65% of the incident radiant power from the Sun. This is because the star is a red dwarf of small mass, it emits less energy than a Sun-like star, which makes the region habitable.

“As a result, the so-called habitable zone is shifted inward,” says Kosakovsky. Thus planets around red dwarf stars such as Wolf 1069 may be habitable, even though they are much closer to the Sun than Earth.

Of course, scientists know well that life does not require only liquid water. Therefore, being potentially habitable does not at all guarantee that ecosystems exist on our planet. The environment is also very important. A clear example of this is Venus, which is very close to the habitable zone, but due to its dense atmosphere it is hell.

Astronomers suspect that Wolf 1069 b is likely tidally locked in its path around the parent star, meaning it always shows the same face that the moon does to Earth. In this case the favorable conditions are even less so, although the team is optimistic about the possibility that it will provide permanent habitable conditions over a large area of ​​its day.

Although the chances are not high, this is very good news because most of the exoplanets discovered are massive, extremely cold/hot, and gaseous. Of the more than 5,000 confirmed exoplanets, only 1.5% have a mass less than two Earth masses. At a distance of 31 light years, Wolf 1069 b is the sixth nearest potentially habitable Earth-mass planet.

The results have been published in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Journal.

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