A potentially habitable planet has been found near a red dwarf close to the Sun

(ORDO NEWS) — A super-Earth exoplanet orbits within the habitable zone of a red dwarf located just 37 light-years away.

At the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, the 8.2-meter Japanese Subaru Telescope is operating, observing the sky in the optical range.

Not so long ago, an IRD spectrograph was installed on it, which made it possible to cover the infrared wavelength range.

The new tool will help observe red dwarfs , which are much easier to distinguish in IR waves than in visible ones.

These old, small, and dim stars make up the majority of the population of the galaxy, and are more common in the solar system’s vicinity.

Red dwarfs can have their own planets, and if their orbits are close enough to the parent star, in its habitable zone , then the temperature on the surface can be comfortable enough to have liquid water – the main criterion for the development of life.

So, in the red dwarf GJ 1061, located just 12 light years from us, they discovered a whole system of potentially habitable planets.

These are the worlds the Subaru telescope, armed with the new IRD spectrograph, is looking for. For several years of work, he searched for suitable red dwarfs, and recently began observing fifty of the most promising candidates.

Ross 508 turned out to be the first of them to have an exoplanet. Preliminary reports of the find were made in May of this year, and now a detailed peer-reviewed publication about the discovery has appeared in the Publication of the Astronomical Society of Japan .

Ross 508 is a red dwarf located 36.5 light years away in the constellation Serpens. It has a mass five times less than the Sun, and the habitable zone is located much closer to the star than that of the Sun.

The planet Ross 508 b orbits, remaining at the inner edge of this region, its orbit is 20 times closer to the parent star than Earth’s is to the Sun.

Ross 508 b completes its annual rotation in just 10.8 Earth days. The mass of the planet is four times that of the earth, which makes it possible to attribute it to the class of super-Earths.

The authors of the find note that this is the first successful example of the discovery of a super-Earth based on data in the near infrared range.

Until now, such observations were not accurate enough and only made it possible to distinguish larger exoplanets.

The new instrument provided the required resolution, and it is clear that the Ross 508 b is just the beginning. In the near future, we can expect reports of new worlds around red dwarfs close to us.


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