February 24, 2024

Discovering a new “super-Earth” near us

NASA and a team of scientists from the University of Birmingham have made an exciting discovery: a potentially habitable “super-Earth” called TOI-715 b. This remarkable discovery was published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

TOI-715 b is a planet orbiting a red dwarf star. It is only 137 light years away from us, according to the newspaper “Der Bund”. Astrologically, that's almost right next door!

The term “super-Earth” refers to planets larger than our Earth. However, it is only twice its diameter or ten times its mass.

This newly discovered super-Earth is about one and a half times the size of our home planet. It is located in the so-called “conservative” habitable zone around its red dwarf star.

This region is determined by the ideal distance to the star. On the star itself, liquid water can exist on the surface. A basic condition for possible life.

Interestingly, time passes faster on TOI-715 b: the whole year lasts only 19.3 days. NASA also suspects there is another planet in the immediate vicinity. This should be slightly larger than Earth and also be in the habitable zone.

The discovery of TOI-715 b provides scientists with a rare opportunity to learn more about exoplanets and their habitability.

“TOI-715 b joins the list of planets that could be examined in more detail with the Webb telescope: perhaps even for signs of an atmosphere. Much will depend on other characteristics of the planet. “Among other things, how massive this planet is and whether it can be classified as a water world,” the researchers said.

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TOI-715 b was discovered by the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) space telescope. Since 2018, this telescope has been actively searching for exoplanets in habitable zones. According to scientists, the discovery of TOI-715 b has exceeded all expectations.