Scientists report the existence of 15 new planets — including one ‘super-Earth’ that could harbor liquid water — orbiting small, cool stars near our solar system. These stars, known as red dwarfs, are of enormous interest for studies of planetary formation and evolution.
The research team led by Teruyuki Hirano of Tokyo Institute of Technology‘s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences has validated 15 exoplanets2 orbiting red dwarf systems.
One of the brightest red dwarf, K2-155 that is around 200 light years from Earth, has three traveling super-Earths, which are somewhat greater than our own particular planet. Of those three super-Earths, the furthest planet, K2-155d, with a sweep 1.6 times that of Earth, could be inside the host star’s livable zone3.
The discoveries, distributed as two papers in The Astronomical Journal, depend on information from NASA Kepler shuttle’s second mission, K2, and follow-up perceptions utilizing ground-based telescopes, incorporating the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) in Spain.
The specialists found that K2-155d could possibly have fluid water on its surface in light of three-dimensional worldwide atmosphere recreations (see Figure 1). Hirano communicates both energy and restriction, as he says: “In our reenactments, the environment and the synthesis of the planet were thought to be Earth-like, and there’s no assurance this is the situation.”
A more exact gauge of the sweep and temperature of the K2-155 star would be expected to close completely whether K2-155d is livable. Accomplishing such exactness would require additionally examines, for instance, utilizing interferometric procedures.
A key result from the present examinations was that planets circling red smaller people may have surprisingly comparative attributes to planets circling sun-powered compose stars.
Hirano said, “It’s important to note that the number of planets around red dwarfs is much smaller than the number around solar-type stars. Red dwarf systems, especially coolest red dwarfs, are just beginning to be investigated, so they are very exciting targets for future exoplanet research.”
This is for the first time, scientists have detected a similar gap between planets around red dwarfs.
Hirano said, “This is a unique finding, and many theoretical astronomers are now investigating what causes this gap. The most likely explanation for the lack of large planets in the proximity of host stars is photoevaporation, which can strip away the envelope of the planetary atmosphere.”
“The researchers also investigated the relationship between planet radius and metallicity5 of the host star. Large planets are only discovered around metal-rich stars and what we found was consistent with our predictions. The few planets with a radius about three times that of Earth were found orbiting the most metal-rich red dwarfs.”
With the planned launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in April 2018, Hirano is hopeful that even more planets will be discovered. “TESS is expected to find many candidate planets around bright stars closer to Earth,” he says. “This will greatly facilitate follow-up observations, including investigation of planetary atmospheres and determining the precise orbit of the planets.”
The findings, published in the form of two papers in The Astronomical Journal.
1 Red dwarfs: Also known as low-mass stars, red dwarfs are small, cool stars with a surface temperature of less than about 4,000 Kelvin.
2 Exoplanets: Planets that orbit stars outside our solar system.
3 Habitable zone: A region that is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water, and hence life, to exist.
4 Radius gap: Here referring to a reduced occurrence of planets that have a radius of between 1.5 to 2.0 times that of Earth.
5 Metallicity: The amount of metal found in a star.