Science

'Super Earth' that may host alien life identified

'Super Earth' that may host alien life identified”

In order to figure out whether K2-18b was a scaled-up version of Earth (mostly rock), or a scaled-down version of Neptune (mostly gas), researchers had to first figure out the planet's mass, using radial velocity measurements taken with HARPS. The same researchers also found out that this planet is not alone there; in fact, it has a neighbor.

While K2-18b and its newly discovered super-Earth nextdoor, K2-18c, are both roughly the same mass as Earth, their similarites may end there.

As fascinating as this discovery that hints at the possibility of intelligent life beyond our blue ball may sound, the researchers also managed to locate another planet that neighbours the K2-18b, called K2-18c.

An worldwide team of astronomers has found that a little-known exoplanet called K2-18b could be a scaled-up version of Earth, and also discovered the planet has a massive neighbor, K2-18c.

With more than 3,000 exoplanets confirmed by NASA at this point, you might wonder what's so special about finding another one-but it's an incredibly rare phenomenon to confirm an exoplanet, let alone to find two super-Earths sitting right next to each other light years away from Earth.

"If you can get the mass and radius, you can measure the bulk density of the planet and that can tell you what the bulk of the planet is made of", said lead author Ryan Cloutier, of the University of Montreal, as reported in the Daily Mail.

K2-18b is located 111 light years away from Earth and orbits within its star's habitable zone, meaning it could hold water in liquid form on its surface. Now the researchers have exhausted the data set collected by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS). "You have to ensure the signal isn't just noise, and you need to do a careful analysis to verify it, but seeing that initial signal was a good indication there was another planet", Cloutier said in the statement.

Using a machine-learning approach the researchers were able to determine that K2-18b was either a rocky planet with a bigger gaseous atmosphere than Earth or a water planet with a thick layer of ice on top of it.

"Once all the boxes were checked it sunk in that, wow, this actually is a planet". "But with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) we can probe the atmosphere and see whether it has an extensive atmosphere or it's a planet covered in water".

It was while looking through the data of K2-18b that Mr Cloutier noticed odd signals, which the researchers realised was a second exoplanet. Study co-author Rene Doyon says that K2-18b will be a prime candidate for the new telescope's atmospheric studies of distant planets once it comes online.



Like this

Latest


06 December 2017
Respect 'status quo' of Jerusalem, says Pope in response to Trump move
In his remarks, Pope Francis said the Holy Land was the "land par excellence of dialogue between God and mankind". The Vatican says it was coincidental that the audience fell on the same day as the U.S. announcement.

06 December 2017
Nigerians return from Libya
Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo has criticised Libya over migrant slave markets, saying the abuse calls into question the wider African unity.

06 December 2017
Investment - Articles - Swiss Re to purchase 1.1 million life policies from L&G
The deal, due to complete in mid-2019, means that L&G will no longer hold any with-profits business. With around 1 million customers, it has largely been closed to new business.

06 December 2017
Russian lawmaker wonders why Flynn lied to FBI
It is not clear whether FBI investigators had conclusively determined Flynn was lying to them at the time McGahn approached Trump. With questions raised by the tweet, Trump associates tried to put distance between the president and the tweet.

06 December 2017
RBI expected to keep policy rates unchanged
The change, or lack of it, in the lending rates has now been a bone of contention between the government and RBI for a while. The rate of inflation which shot up to 3.58 per cent in October is still well within the RBI's target of 4 per cent.

06 December 2017
Naya Rivera re-files for divorce from husband Ryan Dorsey
Naya , 30, who played a cheerleader in the hit Fox show, is citing "irreconcilable differences" according to TMZ . However, she revealed in her memoir, " Sorry Not Sorry ", that her and Dorsey's relationship go a long way back.

06 December 2017
Google adds more photos and related searches to Featured Snippets results
Instead of diving into various websites after a search , Google wants to serve the information it thinks you're after. With the improved Featured Snippet , you'll see more pictures along with with some recommended related links.

06 December 2017
Champions League: Final group round preview
Group C: Atletico Madrid needs a lot to happen to keep alive its streak of four consecutive appearances in the knockout stage. A loss would still most likely see Jose Mourinho's side through as Manchester United's goal difference is superior to CSKA's.

06 December 2017
Colts Place Outside Linebacker John Simon On Injured Reserve
There was no mention of Simon's injury, but he missed three games after suffering a neck injury October 22 against Jacksonville. This was Simon's first season with the team, signing as a free agent in March.

06 December 2017
What's Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) Upside After This Short Interest Decrease?
The active investment managers in our partner's database now own: 20.72 million shares, down from 21.64 million shares in 2017Q1. Boston Private Wealth Ltd Liability holds 0.32% of its portfolio in Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE: VLO ) for 119,058 shares.



Recommended