Science

Chance of finding young Earth-like planets higher than previously thought

Chance of finding young Earth-like planets higher than previously thought”

The team of researchers from the University of Sheffield studied groups of young stars in the Milky Way to see if they were typical compared to theories and previous observations in other star-forming regions in space, and to study if the populations of stars in these groups affected the likelihood of finding forming Earth-like planets. Kepler-160 is, as such, a notable system which is the subject of a new study conducted by René Heller and published this June 4 in Astronomy & Astrophysics. The periodicity of Kepler-160 c transits seemed however modulated by the presence of a third planet which does not transit.

"Observations from the Gaia telescope have helped us to find many more stars in these groups, which enabled us to carry out this study", said Parker. Instead of looking for sudden dimming of the star's light, the usual sign of a passing planet, the algorithms checked for subtler dimming. Located at a distance of a little more than 3100 light years from us yellow dwarf Kepler-160 has a mass of 0.9 solar masses, a radius of 1.1 of its radius, and the luminosity is nearly the same as that of the Sun.

And it does so with a star-planet distance that could permit planetary surface temperatures conducive to life. That is like where Earth sits corresponding to the sun. It's even circling the star at a comparable distance to the Earth, taking 378 days to complete one pass. The planet could have liquid surface water and is considered potentially habitable. "But it's the combination of this less-than-double the size of the Earth planet and its solar-type host star that makes it so special and familiar", Heller said. The specialists said if the planet had a steady atmosphere with mild warming from a nursery impact like what Earth encounters, the normal temperature would be like our planet's mean worldwide temperature.

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Potentially habitable worlds among all the extrasolar planets discovered not so much. Researchers admit that the planet may not exist, but they are 85% Pro planet at this time. This includes the European Space Agency's PLATO mission that will launch in 2026 and search for Earth-size planets around sun-like stars, among other objectives. Unlike most of the stars that host roughly-Earth-sized exoplanets, scientists learned that Kepler-160 gives off light in the visible spectrum rather than infrared light - a crucial aspect, they believe, of being habitable.

So far, nearly all exoplanets are less than twice the size of Earth that has the potential for clement surface temperatures and orbit around a red dwarf.



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