ESO: Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Star

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ESO: Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Star

Post by bystander » Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 pm

Three Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Ultracool Dwarf Star
ESO Science Release | La Silla | TRAPPIST | 2016 May 02
Astronomers using the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory have discovered three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and Earth and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the Solar System. They are the first planets ever discovered around such a tiny and dim star. ...

A team of astronomers led by Michaël Gillon, of the Institut d’Astrophysique et Géophysique at the University of Liège in Belgium, have used the Belgian TRAPPIST telescope [1] to observe the star 2MASS J23062928-0502285, now also known as TRAPPIST-1. They found that this dim and cool star faded slightly at regular intervals, indicating that several objects were passing between the star and the Earth [2]. Detailed analysis showed that three planets with similar sizes to the Earth were present.

TRAPPIST-1 is an ultracool dwarf star — it is much cooler and redder than the Sun and barely larger than Jupiter. Such stars are both very common in the Milky Way and very long-lived, but this is the first time that planets have been found around one of them. Despite being so close to the Earth, this star is too dim and too red to be seen with the naked eye or even visually with a large amateur telescope. It lies in the constellation of Aquarius (The Water Carrier). ...

Scientists Discover Potentially Habitable Planets
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2016 May 02

Just 40 light years from Earth, planets are best targets so far for search for extraterrestrial life.

Promising Worlds Found Around Nearby Ultra-cool Dwarf Star
NASA | 2016 May 02

Temperate Earth-sized planets transiting a nearby ultracool dwarf star - Michaël Gillon et al
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Re: ESO: Potentially Habitable Worlds Found Around Nearby Star

Post by Doum » Tue May 03, 2016 2:42 pm

Is life realy possible near those stars?

http://www.astrobio.net/news-brief/red- ... able-zone/

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Hubble Makes First Atmospheric Study of Exoplanets

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:28 pm

Hubble Makes First Atmospheric Study of Earth-Sized Exoplanets
NASA | STScI | HubbleSite | 2016 July 20
Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have conducted the first search for atmospheres around temperate, Earth-sized planets beyond our solar system and found indications that increase the chances of habitability on two exoplanets.

Specifically, they discovered that the exoplanets TRAPPIST-1b and TRAPPIST-1c, approximately 40 light-years away, are unlikely to have puffy, hydrogen-dominated atmospheres usually found on gaseous worlds.

"The lack of a smothering hydrogen-helium envelope increases the chances for habitability on these planets," said team member Nikole Lewis of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. "If they had a significant hydrogen-helium envelope, there is no chance that either one of them could potentially support life because the dense atmosphere would act like a greenhouse."

Julien de Wit of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led a team of scientists to observe the planets in near-infrared light using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. They used spectroscopy to decode the light and reveal clues to the chemical makeup of an atmosphere. While the content of the atmospheres is unknown and will have to await further observations, the low concentration of hydrogen and helium has scientists excited about the implications. ...

First Atmospheric Study of Earth-sized Exoplanets Reveals Rocky Worlds
Massachusetts Institute of Technology | 2016 July 20

A combined transmission spectrum of the Earth-sized exoplanets TRAPPIST-1 b and c - Julien de Wit et al
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Gemini: Nearby Exo-Earth Family Withstands Extreme Scrutiny

Post by bystander » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:03 pm

Nearby Exo-Earth Family Withstands Extreme Scrutiny
Gemini Observatory | 2016 Sep 13

The discovery of three Earth-sized planets likely orbiting a low-mass star is looking like the real thing.
Astronomers combined the power of the 8-meter Gemini South telescope in Chile with an extremely high-resolution camera to scrutinize the star TRAPPIST-1. Previous observations of the star, which is only about 8% the mass of our Sun, revealed dips in the star’s light output that would be expected if several Earth-sized planets orbited the star. However, the situation would be greatly complicated if, upon closer examination, the star was found to have a yet-unseen stellar companion.

No such companion was found with Gemini, which essentially seals the case for multiple Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1.

Steve Howell of NASA’s Ames Research Center led the extremely high-resolution observations using the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument (DSSI), an instrument he has used before at both Gemini telescopes to probe other exoplanetary systems. The new observations reinforced the hypothesis that several Earth-sized planets are responsible for the fluctuations in the star’s brightness. “By finding no additional stellar companions in the star’s vicinity we confirm that a family of smallish planets orbit this star,” says Howell. “Using Gemini we can see closer to this star than the orbit of Mercury to our Sun. Gemini with DSSI is unique in being able to do this, bar none.” ...

TRAPPIST-1 is what astronomers call a late M-type star; stars which are small, ultra-cool (compared to most stars), and faint. Late M stars are so faint that the only specimens we can observe are relatively close-by in space and, as the Gemini observations demonstrate, allow astronomers to probe very close to these stars in the search for companions. ...

Know Thy Star, Know Thy Planet
NASA | Ames | Kepler | 2016 Sep 14

Speckle Imaging Excludes Low-Mass Companions Orbiting the Exoplanet Host Star TRAPPIST-1 - Steve B. Howell et al
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
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