The closest one, known as Proxima b, may be less hospitable for life.
Writing in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists report the discovery of an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting the star Ross 128, a dim red dwarf just 11 light-years away.
That's the other point in favour of Ross 128 b being a rocky planet: it's relatively close to its host star. As it moves closer to Earth, it is slightly bluer; as it is farther, it becomes slightly redder. The host star is much cooler and fainter than our sun, but Ross 128 b orbits it closely and quickly - a year lasts just 9.9 days.
The astronomers who spotted it think its temperature should be between -76 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty pleasant as exoplanets go. But Ross 128 is much cooler than the sun, so the newfound world is likely temperate, the researchers said. It requires that the planet's orbit be lined up in such a way that it will actually pass between the telescope and the star. "Similarly, maybe we will find species in the atmosphere of Ross 128 b that indeed are different biomarkers than the ones in Earth (harder to prove), so we will continue. learning".
The only closer temperate planet is Proxima b, whose star, another red dwarf, bombards it with ultraviolet and X-ray radiation, possibly rendering it uninhabitable. But its host star, a red dwarf called Proxima Centauri, has been compared to a hormonal teenager.
"Since 2013, our monitoring started to be more intense, and only after acquiring 157 observations was the signal of the planet strong enough to be detected". Ross 128 appears at the centre of the picture. You could probably trust it not to fry its own planet. However, in "only" 79, 000 years, this will all change as Ross 128 is moving towards us. According to Nicola Astudillo-Defru, an astronomer at the University of Geneva and co-author of the study, the star's orbit through the galaxy has put it on a path toward Earth.
This image shows the sky around the red dwarf star Ross 128 in the constellation of Virgo. After capturing the star at more than 150 points in time, they determined that they had enough evidence to confirm the presence of a planet. The instrument has helped discover dozens of exoplanets. Close inspection reveals that Ross 128 has a odd multiple appearance as this image was created from photographs taken over a more than forty year period by the Digitized Sky Survey 2, and the star, which is only 11 light-years from Earth, moved across the sky significantly during this time.
"This one is special", Astudillo-Defru added.
Basically, as a planet orbits a star, it doesn't stay fixed in place.
But at times, that catalogue can feel like a travel guide to lands we'll never see.
"We started to observe this star in July 2005". For that reason, the scientists refer to Ross 128 b as "the best temperate planet known to date". There's something special about that.
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