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NASA Discovers Super-Earth That May Support Life

WASHINGTON, Aug 8: Scientists have discovered a Super-Earth that is four times the mass of our planet and takes just 10.8 days to complete a whole year.

According to the American space agency NASA, the exoplanet, called Ross 508 b, was discovered using a new infrared monitoring technique. It is located 37 light-years from us. The Super-Earth “skims in and out of its star's habitable zone”. And it revolves around a red dwarf star called Ross 508, just like our Earth orbits the Sun.

According to Space.com, the proximity of this Super-Earth to our planet means that it is ripe for atmospheric investigation which could help researchers determine whether life could exist around low-mass stars.

Astronomers in Japan had first spotted the Super-Earth earlier this year in May. The findings were a part of the study titled “A Super-Earth Orbiting Near the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone around the M4.5-dwarf Ross 508”.

As per the research, the exoplanet orbits the star at a distance that offers temperatures conducive to the formation of water on the surface of the planet. This indicates that Ross 508 b is the habitable zone of the star.

Researchers spotted the planet near a dim star using the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) in Hawaii. As the star is smaller in size than the Sun, Ross 508 b orbits it every 10.8 days. Moreover, Ross 508 is significantly dim, thus, the Super Earth experiences 1.4 times the solar radiation that Earth witnesses.

According to the study, the Ross 508 is around 18% of the mass of the Sun which makes it the faintest and smallest star with an orbiting world.

The star was discovered using the radial velocity method. This technique used for locating exoplanets is more effective in finding giant worlds like gaseous planets that orbit at a distance that is too hot for liquid water.

 

 



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