Transit of ‘Super-Earth’ Spotted by Astronomers

Image from NAOJ

One Step Closer to Finding Extraterrestrial Life

The hunt for extraterrestrial life is on the rise. With many interested organizations and individuals spending millions to fund Earth-Like hunting projects, many of them coming very close.

One of which is the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. Their researchers recently observed the passing of an exoplanet similar in composition to Earth named “K2-3d”. This was accomplished using what they call a “MuSCAT” instrument at the Okayama Astrophysical Observatory.

A transit is a phenomenon in which a planet passes in front of its parent star, blocking a small amount of light from the star, like a shadow of the planet. While transits have previously been observed for thousands of other exo-planets, K2-3d is important because there is a possibility that it might harbour extraterrestrial life. -NOAJ

K2-3D is a confirmed massive solid exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star K2-3 announced January 2015. It is dubbed as a “Super Earth” where its mass and radius are bigger than Earth’s. It is approximately located 137 light years away from Earth and is considered to be orbiting on the edge of the inner habitable zone.  However, many researchers believe that the planet is tidally locked to its star. Meaning, one side faces towards its star, engulfed in a blanket of scorching heat; while the other side is facing pure darkness, with frigid temperatures.  If this is the case, then this planet may not be so habitable after all.

We will see if it is habitable as the new James Webb Telescope will be able to track the new planet for life. The James Webb Space Telescope is estimated to be completed by 2018.

Other Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Discoveries

So far there has been a total of 44 potentially habitable exoplanets discovered with 15 being Earth-size(Terran) and 29 being Super-Earth size (Superterran).

Recent Discovery By NASA

As of August 2016, an Earth-like planet was discovered by astronomers.

The exoplanet is at a distance from its star that allows temperatures mild enough for liquid water to pool on its surface.

The new planet circles Proxima Centauri. Also known to science fiction fans as Alpha Centauri. Just over 4 light-years away, Proxima is the closest star to Earth, besides our own sun.

The group of astronomers also mentioned that the planet, dubbed Proxima b, is at least 1.3 times the mass of Earth. It orbits its star far more closely than Mercury orbits our sun. Taking only 11 days to complete a single orbit — a “year” on Proxima b.

Resource:

The article is based on the original published paper: “Ground-based Transit Observation of the Habitable-zone Super-Earth K2-3d”.

About Benjamin

Ben started Quadoop as a medium to express his deep passion for the technology industry as well as the ever expanding video game and space industries. He also loves to write about the great technological advancements other countries are making in their economy especially in their strides in the technology and space industries.

Check Also

xbox-one-x-succesor

Will the Xbox One X Sell Well? Our Thoughts

New console launches are always exciting, and the next one is a beast. After spending …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 − three =

UA-88017198-1