2 super-Earths found in habitable zone

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The list of places where life could exist in space is growing. With the help of NASA’s TESS satellite, 2 new exoplanets have been found. According to a research team from the Spanish University of La Laguna, they are located in the habitable zone.

Both planets were discovered at the star TOI-2095. The red dwarf is 137 light-years away from our solar system. The 2 planets orbiting it have been named TOI-2095 b and TOI-2095 c.

Only a little bigger than the earth, but much heavier
The distance between the red dwarf and TOI-2095 b is only about one tenth of the average distance between Earth and the Sun. The exoplanet is only 1.39 times larger than Earth, but has 4.1 times more mass. This puts it in the category of planets called super-Earths. A year lasts only 17.7 Earth days on TOI-2095 b.

TOI-2095 c is larger than b and slightly farther from the star. It takes 28.2 days to orbit the red dwarf. Its diameter is 1.33 times larger than Earth’s, but it has 7.5 times more mass.

Liquid water in the habitable zone
Red dwarfs are cooler than our sun. Therefore, although exoplanets are much closer to their star than Earth is to the Sun, they lie in the habitable zone. The researchers define the habitable zone as the area where liquid water can exist. If a planet is too close to the star, it is too hot and the water evaporates. If a planet is too far away, it is too cold and the water freezes into ice.

According to the researchers’ calculations, the exoplanets TOI-2095 b and c should be between 24 and 75 degrees Celsius. So there could be liquid water there.

Atmosphere could have been blown away
However, red dwarfs are known for their strong bursts of ultraviolet and X-ray radiation that occur when they are young. Such bursts can blow away the atmospheres of planets, which in turn makes conditions for life extremely difficult.

Therefore, researchers want to continue observing the 2 exoplanets. The main goal is to measure their radial velocity. This will allow a more accurate calculation of mass, which in turn will lead to a more accurate calculation of density. And that may allow conclusions to be drawn as to whether the 2 exoplanets still have an atmosphere.

  • source: futurezone.at/picture: pixabay.com
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