Is there another Earth out there? has been at the forefront of astronomy research for many years. Data about exoplanets outside of our solar system has flooded observations. The prospect of finding Earth 2.0 has increased with the discovery of a new system in deep space.
Two planets orbiting a red dwarf star with masses comparable to Earth have been discovered by an international team of astronomers. It’s intriguing because both planets are in the star’s habitable zone and the system is only 16 light-years away from our solar system.
“Nature seems determined to convince us that planets similar to Earth are very common. Seven planetary systems quite close to the Sun are now known to us thanks to these two “Alejandro Suárez Mascareno, an IAC researcher and the study’s first author, explains. The study will appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The planets were discovered through cooperation between the ESPRESSO and CARMENES instrument consortia. Between 2017 and 2019, CARMENES and ESPRESSO both detected GJ 1002, and between 2019 and 2021, ESPRESSO.
The inner of the two, GJ 1002b, completes an orbit of the star in just over 10 days, whereas GJ 1002c needs just over 21 days. The two planets in this system, particularly GJ 1002c, are excellent candidates for the characterization of their atmospheres based on either their thermal emission or their reflected light, which has astronomers excited about how close this system is to our Sun.
“Red dwarf star GJ 1002 has a mass that is only about one-eighth that of the Sun. It is a small, cool star. Its habitability zone is consequently very close to the star “explains Vera Mara Passenger, the paper’s co-author.
This is the first planet system that has been found that is located closer to the Trappist-1 system, which contains the largest collection of Earth-like planets and is located about 40 light-years away. In 2017, TRAPPIST-1, as named by NASA, contained the greatest number of Earth-sized planets ever found in a single star’s habitable zone. There may be water on the surface of this system of seven rocky worlds.