Potentially habitable exoplanet discovered not far from Earth: It sees New Year every 13 days

May 24, 2024  22:21

A team of astronomers used observations from multiple telescopes to support the discovery of a potentially habitable exoplanet the size of Earth. The exoplanet Gliese 12b orbits a red dwarf star just 40 light-years from our system. The exoplanet makes one revolution around its star in 13 days. The average surface temperature of Gliese 12b is about 40 °C, which can be considered suitable for the emergence of a form of life that exists on Earth, reports Space.com.

The "relative" star of the exoplanet Gliese 12 belongs to the spectral type M3.5V, it is a so-called red dwarf. Most of our galaxy, up to 70%, consists of such stars. However, the proximity of the planet to its star does not make life on it very risky. Red dwarfs are hyperactive only in the early stages of their evolution and can remain stable for hundreds of billions and even trillions of years, which is many times longer than, for example, the lifetime of our Sun. Therefore, life can develop on them for a very long time, independent of the lifetime of its host star.

Gliese 12 exoplanet was discovered by the NASA TESS telescope using the transit method. The observations were also confirmed by data from the CHEOPS telescope and a number of instruments on Earth. In addition to the transit method, the presence of an exoplanet around the star was confirmed by the data of its radial velocity fluctuations obtained by the HARPS-N and TRES spectrographs. The resulting data helped calculate the exoplanet's mass, size, and density. Gliese 12 was found to be slightly lighter than Earth (0.88 times the mass of our planet). Its radius roughly corresponds to the radius of the Earth.

Perhaps one of the most important issues is the presence of atmosphere. The two transit observations did not provide reliable data on the presence of a gaseous envelope around Gliese 12. However, this has its advantages. it may be sparse and difficult to distinguish. The atmosphere around the earth is also not thick. Conversely, the presence of a dense atmosphere around an exoplanet may reduce the likelihood of life. A good example of this is Venus, where the dense atmosphere and greenhouse effect have created such conditions that lead melts. Scientists hope to find out the problem with Gliese 12's atmosphere using the James Webb Space Telescope and have already applied to NASA to use this telescope.

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