Potentially habitable world found just 11 light years away

Potentially habitable world found just 11 light years away

A potentially habitable world, termed Ross 128 b, has been discovered just 11 light years away. It is roughly Earth-sized and orbits its parent star once every 9.9 days.

Astronomers calculate that its surface temperature could lie somewhere between –60° and 20°, making it temperate and possibly capable of supporting oceans, and life.

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The world was found by a team of European and South American astronomers led by Xavier Bonfils (Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble, France) who were using the European Southern Observatory’s world-leading planet-hunting instrument, HARPS. They reported the discovery in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

HARPS identifies planets by the way their gravity forces their parent stars to wobble. It shows that Ross 128 b is more massive than the Earth, with at least 1.35 times our planet’s bulk. So the planet would have a stronger pull of gravity at its surface.

Ross 128 b is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, hence its year lasts just 9.9 days. Yet, it is not burnt to a crisp because the star is a red dwarf, which is fainter than the Sun.

Ross 128 b is not the closest Earth-like world to us. That distinction goes to Proxima Centauri b, which was discovered in 2016, and is just 4.24 light years away. Although Ross 128 b is remarkably similar in size and orbit to Proxima Centauri b it may have a clear advantage when it comes to potential habitability

For More: https://www.theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/2017/nov/15/potentially-habitable-world-found-just-11-light-years-away-ross-128-b?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=fb_a-science_b-gdnscience#link_time=1510757218

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