Astronomers have found another "ideal" exoplanet
In our time, astronomers are beginning to find potentially habitable exoplanets, but the latest discovery could be the most intriguing. The planet is named LHS 1140b, it is a little larger than Earth and is located about 40 light-years away.
"This is the most promising exoplanet that I've seen over the last 10 years", - says a leading researcher Jason Dittman of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
"The planet is a perfect candidate for the search for extraterrestrial life outside our solar system."
Artistic representation of the planet LHS 1140b and the red dwarf
LHS 1140b is a so-called super-Earths - planet Earth with a mass greater than (but not more than 10 times), but having only 1 size 4 times larger than that of the Earth. According to the researchers, this may indicate an increased density of its structure, and probably the presence of a dense iron core.
But what makes a planet LHS 1140b interesting even than its size and density, it is interesting primarily because it is located in the so-called habitable area of its stars - dim red dwarf LHS 1140 located in the constellation Cetus. The planet is about 10 times closer located to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, but as the star LHS 1140 significantly colder than our star, it could mean that its light has not fry anything that can be on this planet, because the volume heat it receives, about half the size of what our planet receives from the sun.
"The conditions that provide a red dwarf, it can be said, are very favorable for the planet. LHS 1140 rotates slower and the Sun emits less highly charged particles compared to other similar low-mass stars "- says one of the researchers, astronomer Nicola Astudillo-DEFRA of Geneva Observatory.
From this we can conclude that the planet provided a sufficient volume of heat (not too much and not too low) to maintain water in liquid form (unless it is, of course, available on the planet), which, in turn, is an important part of the life that we know.
We discovered a planet LHS 1140b using the HARPS instrument La Silla Observatory, located in Chile, owned by the European Southern Observatory. The estimated age of the exoplanet is about 5 billion years, while expected conditions on it have not always been so hospitable. Most likely, when the red dwarf was younger, his temperament was much hotter, which could lead to the disappearance of water from the atmosphere LHS 1140b, if it is, of course, there ever was.
However, astronomers are hoping that the planet was able to save, or at least restore their environment, due to the rising up of magmatic vapors that might be inherent to it in its distant past.
To test their hypothesis, the scientists are going to continue to examine LHS 1140b using the space telescope "Hubble", as well as the European Extremely Large Telescope (Extremely Large Telescope), whose construction should be completed in 2024 (to wait for a long time, but it's worth it) . It is worth noting that this is not only removed from our world that caused excitement among scientists lately. This month, for example, astronomers announced the determination of the atmosphere around one more super-Earths - Gliese 1132b. It is about a similar distance to the Earth (about 39 light-years). True to draw any hasty conclusions about its potential habitability scientists do not want to until they know more about it information.
"Let's not forget the history around the system TRAPPIST-1 and another zemplepodobnoy planet - Proxima b. Both places are in fact unlikely to be an ideal haven for life, they seem at first glance. "
And still optimistic about the LHS 1140b planet is also present among scientists.
"LHS 1140 system can be for us an even more important goal than Proxima b and TRAPPIST-1 system," - agree in opinion Xavier Delfosse and Xavier Bonfils from the French National Center for Scientific Research.