Astronomers have just found a brand-new planet in the neighborhood galaxy that resembles Earth. It’s just 186 trillion miles, or 31 light-years, away.
This barely seems like a small distance by human standards. In actuality, the trip would take a jet 40 million years to complete.
Though the new planet, Wolf 1069 b, is essentially our neighbor considering the immensity of space. And given its apparent livable circumstances, it may be our home at some unspecified moment in the far future.
According to a press statement from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the intriguing globe was discovered by astronomers at a Spanish telescope as part of a lengthy research dedicated to looking for planets around 300 dwarf stars.
Wolf 1069 b stands out as one of the few exoplanets, or planets beyond our solar system, among the about 5,000 exoplanets that are thought to be known.
The planet was distinctive in a number of important ways to observers. It has the unique property of having almost the same mass as Earth. Astronomers estimate that less than 2% of all known exoplanets have masses that are less than twice that of Earth.
In addition, Wolf 1069 b is located in the region of space around a star where liquid water may exist on a planet’s surface.
According to NASA, liquid water is essential for carbon-based life as we know it. Though it seems to be the lone planet in its solar system, Wolf 1069 b differs from Earth in a number of ways. It travels far closer to its star in its orbit than the Earth does to the sun, but the star is cooler because it emits less radiation.
In addition, Wolf 1069 b completes a full rotation around its star in only 15.6 days, as opposed to our 365-day calendar year.
Additionally, like to our moon, it rotates in a seemingly tidally locked fashion, with just one side ever facing the star and receiving sunlight.
As a consequence, just a small region on the planet’s dayside has potentially livable circumstances, according to scientists. “The temperature difference would probably cause strong winds in the atmosphere, in addition to everlasting day on one side and endless darkness on the other.
Dr. Martin Kürster, an astronomer involved in the finding, told McClatchy News that it wasn’t very nice for a daily stroll. “To be honest, I wouldn’t enjoy it.” Further study of Wolf 1069 b and other worlds similar to it is essential, according to scientists, despite some of its significant differences from Earth and because of its potential characteristics.
However, scientists predicted that it would take at least ten years before more sophisticated studies, such as looks for biomarkers, could be made of the “lonely” planet. And even if Wolf 1069 b is livable, the concept of visiting there is still firmly grounded in science fiction.
Reference(s): MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE