Friday, March 1, 2024

NASA Discovers Potentially Habitable ‘Super-Earth’ 137 Light-Years Away – N.F Times

Washington: American space agency NASA has discovered a “super-Earth,” a planet capable of supporting life, situated 137 light-years away.

The planet, dubbed TOI-715 b is about one and a half times as wide as Earth and orbits a small, reddish star. It revolves around its parent star in the conservative habitable zone, which could give the planet the right temperature for liquid water to form on its surface.

Scientists, led by the University of Birmingham, utilized Earth-based telescopes in conjunction with NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which launched six years ago.

TESS observed ‘transiting’ planets, and once it hinted at TOI-715b’s existence, telescopes were employed to pinpoint its location. The super-Earth has a tighter orbit than Earth, completing one orbit every 19 days, and always presents the same side to its star.

This unique orbital position may result in extreme temperature differences between day and night sides, influencing the exoplanet’s climate and weather patterns.

The characteristics of TOI-715b, including its mass and potential status as a ‘water world,’ will influence the ability to detect its atmosphere.

The findings mark another step forward in astronomers’ mission to understand what atmospheric conditions are needed to sustain life and further explore the characteristics of exoplanets beyond our solar system, NASA said.

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