El área verde representa la zona habitable donde puede existir agua líquida en la superficie del planeta. La órbita planetaria se muestra como una línea azul. Ross 508 b roza la franja interna de la zona habitable (línea estable), probablemente cruzando hacia la zona habitable durante una parte de la órbita (línea discontinua). Puntaje de crédito: Astrobiología Corazón

Se descubrió un nuevo planeta súper-Tierra a 37 años luz de la Tierra.

A solo 37 años luz de la Tierra, se ha encontrado un planeta súper-Tierra cerca de la zona habitable de una estrella enana púrpura. Ese es el primer descubrimiento hecho por un nuevo instrumento en el Telescopio Subaru, y presenta la posibilidad de investigar el potencial de vida actual en los planetas alrededor de las estrellas cercanas. Con un descubrimiento preliminar tan prometedor, podemos esperar que el Telescopio Subaru encuentre más candidatos, incluso quizás mejores, para planetas habitables cercanos a las enanas púrpuras en el futuro.

Tres cuartas partes de las celebridades dentro de la[{“>Milky Way Galaxy are red dwarfs, which are smaller than the Sun and abundant in the solar neighborhood. They are thus crucial targets in the hunt for nearby extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life. Red dwarfs are cooler than other kinds of stars and produce less visible light, which makes it challenging to study them.

Red dwarfs are more visible at infrared wavelengths. In order to look for evidence of planets surrounding red dwarf stars, the Astrobiology Center in Japan created an infrared observational instrument mounted atop the Subaru Telescope. The instrument is called IRD for Infrared Doppler, the observational method used in this search.

The first fruits of this search are signs of a super-Earth four times the mass of the Earth circling the star Ross 508, located 37 light-years away in the constellation Serpens. This planet, Ross 508 b, has a year of only 11 Earth-days and lies at the inner edge of the habitable zone around its host star. Interestingly, there are indications that the orbit is elliptical, which would mean that for part of the orbit the planet would be in the habitable zone, the region where conditions would be right for liquid water to exist on the surface of the planet. Whether or not there is actually water or life are questions of further study.

To have the very first planet discovered by this new method be so tantalizingly close to the habitable zone seems too good to be true and bodes well for future discoveries. Bun’ei Sato, a Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the principal investigator in this search comments, “It has been 14 years since the start of IRD’s development. We have continued our development and research with the hope of finding a planet exactly like Ross 508 b.”

Reference: “A super-Earth orbiting near the inner edge of the habitable zone around the M4.5 dwarf Ross 508” by Hiroki Harakawa, Takuya Takarada, Yui Kasagi, Teruyuki Hirano, Takayuki Kotani, Masayuki Kuzuhara, Masashi Omiya, Hajime Kawahara, Akihiko Fukui, Yasunori Hori, Hiroyuki Tako Ishikawa, Masahiro Ogihara, John Livingston, Timothy D Brandt, Thayne Currie, Wako Aoki, Charles A Beichman, Thomas Henning, Klaus Hodapp, Masato Ishizuka, Hideyuki Izumiura, Shane Jacobson, Markus Janson, Eiji Kambe, Takanori Kodama, Eiichiro Kokubo, Mihoko Konishi, Vigneshwaran Krishnamurthy, Tomoyuki Kudo, Takashi Kurokawa, Nobuhiko Kusakabe, Jungmi Kwon, Yuji Matsumoto, Michael W McElwain, Koyu Mitsui, Takao Nakagawa, Norio Narita, Jun Nishikawa, Stevanus K Nugroho, Eugene Serabyn, Takuma Serizawa, Aoi Takahashi, Akitoshi Ueda, Taichi Uyama, Sébastien Vievard, Ji Wang, John Wisniewski, Motohide Tamura and Bun’ei Sato, 30 June 2022, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.
DOI: 10.1093/pasj/psac044

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