A potentially habitable Earth-sized planet has been discovered 40 light-years away

A potentially habitable exoplanet, roughly the size of Earth, has been found in a system located 40 light-years away, according to a new study.

The researchers said that the planet is approximately the size of Venus, slightly smaller than Earth, and may be temperate enough to support life.

The planet, called Gliese 12 b, takes 12.8 days to orbit a star 27% the size of the Sun. It is not yet known whether this exoplanet has an atmosphere.

But the scientists behind the study published Thursday in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical SocietyGliese 12 b is estimated to have a surface temperature of about 107 °F (42 °C). Although it is hot, this temperature is lower than most of the thousands of exoplanets discovered so far.

“Gliese 12 b could be at the right temperature for liquid water to collect on its surface, and this is important because we tend to think that liquid water is an essential component of life as we know it,” said Shishir Dholakia, one of the study’s co-authors. PhD student at the Center for Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland, He said in a statement.

Researchers are keen to take a closer look at the exoplanet, including using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which was launched into space in 2021 and is equipped with an advanced set of instruments capable of studying the atmospheres of exoplanets.

Scientists want to determine whether the planet has an atmosphere similar to that on Earth, or whether its atmosphere is as extreme and hostile as the atmosphere on Venus. On the other hand, Gliese 12 b may have no atmosphere at all, or an atmosphere that is unusual and not seen in our solar system, they said.

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The results could help researchers better understand the factors that make exoplanets habitable. The observations may also shed light on how our solar system evolved.

“Because Gliese 12 b is between Earth and Venus in terms of temperature, its atmosphere can teach us a lot about the habitability paths that planets take as they evolve,” says study co-author Larissa Palethorpe, a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and College London. University. , He said in a statement.

Gliese 12 b was discovered using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey satellite, which is designed to stare at a large patch of sky for about a month at a time. The space telescope, which was launched into space in 2018, searches for periodic changes in the brightness of tens of thousands of stars.

If the star dims at regular intervals, it could be a sign that a planet is orbiting the star, passing in front of it and temporarily blocking its light.

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