A mysterious planet has been discovered.
In the constellation of Ophiuchus, the closest exoplanet to the Solar System, Wolf 1061c, has been discovered, orbiting a red dwarf. The conditions on it may be quite suitable for life. This was reported by experts from the University of New South Wales (Australia), who published the results of their research in The Astrophysical Journal Letter.
Samples to study.
Wolf 1061c is one of three exoplanets that orbit the star Wolf 1061. It is a red dwarf located 14 light-years from the Solar System. Wolf 1061 (by the way, Wolf means “wolf”) is smaller and colder than the Sun.
The exoplanets of the Wolf 1061 system were discovered using the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-meter telescope of the La Silla Observatory, which, in turn, is part of the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The periods of their rotation around the mother star are 4.9, 17.9 and 67.2 days. In addition, they are 1.4, 4.3, and 5.2 times heavier than the Earth, respectively. However, the closest exoplanet to the star is too hot for Earth-like life to exist on it, and the most distant one is too rocky.
But Wolf 1061c is located in the so-called habitable zone. This was found out by a new technique developed by Australian scientists and contributes to improving the analysis of the data obtained.
“This is a particularly exciting finding, as all three exoplanets are low enough in mass to potentially have a rocky solid surface, and the middle planet, Wolf 1061c, is in the Goldilocks zone, where liquid water and even life is possible,” said Duncan Wright, one of the study’s authors.
Another nearby potentially habitable planet is Gliese 667Cc, located 22 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Scorpio. It revolves around a red dwarf: it takes 28 days to revolve around it. The mass of Gliese 667Cc is approximately 4.5 times that of Earth. The researchers hope that the proximity of Wolf 1061c and Gliese 667Cc will allow us to study their atmospheres.
Rocky, but too hot.
At the end of September, the attention of scientists was attracted by the exoplanet HD 219134b, recorded by the Spitzer telescope and located 21 light-years from Earth. It is located in the constellation Cassiopeia and is visible in the sky even with the naked eye, not far from the North Star. HD 219134b was discovered during a transit (passing through the disk of the parent star).
It turned out that the mass of the planet is 4.5 times larger than the earth, the diameter is 1.6 times larger than that of the Earth, and it makes a revolution in its orbit in three days. The density of HD 219134b is 6 grams per cubic centimeter. This indicates that the planet has a rocky surface and belongs to the so-called “super-earths”.
The latter are very common in our Galaxy, but we don’t know much about them yet, as they are all located too far away from us. Relatively close to us, HD 219134b may become a model for research.
And yet the existence of life on HD 219134b is ruled out, experts say. The fact is that it is located too close to its star. By the way, three more planets have been identified in the star system HD 219134. Their orbits are farther than those of HD 219134b. The two planets are relatively small in size and are also close to the star.
The “sisters” of Earth.
There are other “candidates” for “viability”. So, Kepler-186f, discovered in 2010 in the constellation Cygnus, 490 light-years away, was nicknamed “sister of the Earth”. There is a fairly high probability that it consists of rocks, ice and metal, and there is liquid water on the surface of the planet…
Kepler-283c is located in the constellation Cygnus, however, too far away from us, at a distance of 1700 light-years. It is approximately 1.8 times larger than Earth, and a year on it is equal to 93 earth days.
Kepler-438b orbits a red dwarf star in the constellation Lyra, 470 light-years from Earth. It is 12 percent larger than our planet and about 40 percent hotter. The temperature on its surface should be about 76 degrees Celsius. It’s a bit hot for people like us, but some life forms could theoretically exist there.
Kepler-442b is also located in the constellation Lyra, but only in a different star system, 1,100 light-years away. It is a third larger than Earth, and the average temperature on its surface is 0 degrees Celsius. The surface of a planet is 60 percent likely to be solid, and this is a necessary condition for the evolution of life.
However, neither the” title “of an exoplanet, nor being in the “habitable zone” still does not guarantee anything. In order for life to originate somewhere and continue to develop, at least in its earthly understanding, many conditions and factors must coincide, and this can be a very rare phenomenon, scientists say.
In addition, it can take tens of thousands of years to get to one or another planet, even the one closest to us, from another star system, and check everything out…