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Scientists have discovered two super-Earths, one of which may be habitable

Scientists have discovered two super-Earths, one of which may be habitable

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An international team of scientists has discovered two super-Earths, one of which may be habitable. The University of Liege reported this on Wednesday morning. The team is led by Laetitia Delreese, an astrophysicist at Olig.

gjssource: BELGA

The term super-Earth refers to planets that orbit other stars and have a mass greater than Earth’s.


The first planet, named LP 890-9b (or TOI-4306b), was initially identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Space Telescope (TESS). This space telescope searches for exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. LP 890-9b is about 30 percent larger than Earth and can orbit its entire star in just 2.7 days.

ULiège researchers used their SPECULOOS (EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) telescopes to confirm the planet’s existence and to better map it. SPECULOOS telescopes are also used to search for other planets that Tess may have overlooked.

bigger than the earth

In this way, a second giant Earth was discovered, apparently. Dubbed LP 890-9c and 40 percent more massive than Earth, it’s comparable to the first. The orbital period, the time it takes a planet to complete an orbit around its star, is longest at 8.5 days.

“Although this planet is very close to its star, about 10 times less than Mercury from our sun, the amount of stellar radiation it receives is still low, and the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface could be possible provided the atmosphere is sufficient,” Francisco J. explains. Pozuelos, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics in Andalusia and co-author of the paper.

More research

Scientists will conduct more research to get to know the planet better. Letitia Delris concludes, “The discovery of LP 890-9c provides us with a unique opportunity to better understand the younger, colder stars in our neighboring solar system and their habitable conditions.”

The study was published in the journal Astronomy and astrophysics.

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