Planetary System L 98-59: There could be life here

Sciences outer planets

There can be life in the “L 98-59” system

This artist's impression shows L 98-59b, one of the planets in the L 98-59 system, 35 light-years away.  The system contains four confirmed rocky planets with a possible fifth, the furthest from the star, uncertain.  In 2021, astronomers used data from the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) on ESO's VLT to measure the mass of L 98-59b, and found it to be half the mass of Venus.  This makes it the lightest planet so far measured using the radial velocity technique. This artist's impression shows L 98-59b, one of the planets in the L 98-59 system, 35 light-years away.  The system contains four confirmed rocky planets with a possible fifth, the furthest from the star, uncertain.  In 2021, astronomers used data from the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) on ESO's VLT to measure the mass of L 98-59b, and found it to be half the mass of Venus.  This makes it the lightest planet so far measured using the radial velocity technique.

Artist’s impression of planet L 98-59b

What: ESO / M. Kornmeiser

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Researchers have discovered rocky planets with water at a distance of only 35 light-years. The telescope, which is scheduled to launch in 2021, could be used to search for evidence of life there.

nA star named “L 98-59” is only 35 light-years from Earth, so it’s in our cosmic neighborhood. Find out in 2019 NASA-Weltroscopic Telescope “TES” (Transiting the Exoplanet Survey Satellite) That this star revolves around three planets.

European Southern Observatory scientists examined the planetary system around “L 98-59” with very large telescope (VLT) in Chile take a closer look. In the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, they now report on some interesting properties of these planets.

At least one of these rocky planets contains liquid water, and thus is essentially life-friendly conditions. There is probably no water on the planets closest to L 98-59.

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On the other hand, the third planet contains large amounts of water. Analysis of the measurement data shows that up to 30 percent of its mass can be in the form of water that makes up the planet’s large oceans.

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The researchers not only succeeded in determining the masses and diameters of these three planets, but also discovered two previously unknown planets in the “L 98-59” system. One of them is worthy of preference. It is the lightest exoplanet ever found using the radial velocity method. It has only half the mass of Venus.

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“We have indications that this planet is in the habitable zone of the planetary system,” says lead author of Olivier Demangeon vom. Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of Porto in Portugal.

“And this planet could have an atmosphere that makes life on this celestial body possible,” speculates astronomer Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio of the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, who was also involved in the research.

The James Webb Telescope mission

It is not possible to know whether there are actual life forms on one or more planets around the star “L 98-59” using telescopes available today on Earth or in Earth’s orbit. To do this, it is necessary to detect the signature of certain characteristic particles in the atmosphere of exoplanets.

Researchers hope to do so with James Webb Weltraoscopic Telescope (JWST), which is scheduled to begin at the end of 2021. JWST is scheduled to be centered 1.5 million kilometers from Earth at the so-called Lagrangian point L2 – on the side of the Earth-Sun system far from the Sun.

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HANDOUT - 09.12.2019, ---: Artistic impression of Khufu (characterizing an exoplanet moon), an exoplanet moon, with an exoplanet system in the background.  (To dpa «New satellite Esa« Cheops »examines distant planets») Image: ESA / dpa - ATTENTION: For editorial use only in connection with current reports and only with credits mentioned above +++ dpa-Bildfunk ++

The L 98-59 planets are good candidates for powerful instrument guidance for NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. The ESO ELT (Extremely Large Telescope), which is already under construction in Chile, can detect particles suggestive of life in the atmospheres of exoplanets after a planned start-up in 2027.

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