Closest Temperate World Orbiting Quiet Star Discovered

Could This Newly Discovered Planet Support Life

Ross 128, although a red dwarf is thought to be relatively inactive and does not pose a threat to the Earth-like exoplanet.

Scientists at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla site in Chile discovered this exoplanet using the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument.

Astronomers said that Ross 128 b is around one of the quietest stars in the cosmic neighborhood.It orbits around a small and fair red dwarf star.

Scientist have discovered a nearby Earth-like exoplanet with conditions favorable to life.

Like many other exoplanets, it orbits close to a dim and cool "red dwarf" at a distance 20 times less than that between the sun and Earth. That's obviously great news if you fancy the idea aliens romping around on its surface, but at the moment we have no way of knowing if that's the case or not. The exoplanet has been dubbed Ross 128 b and is the second closest temperate planet detected with Proxima b being the closest. The star is just 11 light-years away, which might sound like an incredibly long distance, but it's a mere stone's throw in the grand scheme of things. "In particular, NIRPS, the infrared arm of HARPS, will boost our efficiency in observing red dwarfs, which emit most of their radiation in the infrared". The exoplanet is predicted to have a temperature range of between -60 and 20C. Ross 128 b will by then take the crown from Proxima b and become the closest exoplanet to Earth!

Newly discovered planet Ross 128 b has all of the characteristics of a planet that could support life, astronomers wrote in a new research paper detailing their findings. Planets that are close to their star tend to be "tidally locked", with one side always facing away from the star and the other half in darkness. They hope to find out during follow up analysis using ESO's Extremely Large Telescope.

Many red dwarf stars, including Proxima Centauri, are subject to flares that occasionally bathe their orbiting planets in deadly ultraviolet and X-ray radiation. Argument remains of whether the exoplanet might be in the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on its surface.

Often, red dwarfs release periodic flares.

Within the next 10 years, a new generation of ultra-powerful telescopes will start studying the atmospheres of exoplanets looking for signs of life, such as oxygen.

"New facilities at ESO will first play a critical role in building the census of Earth-mass planets amenable to characterization", researcher Xavier Bonfils said.

[2] The habitable zone is defined by the range of orbits around a star in which a planet can possess the appropriate temperature for liquid water to exist on the planet's surface. "And then, the ELT will provide the opportunity to observe and characterize a large fraction of these planets".

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