Scientists Think They Found a 'Super Earth' Outside Our Solar System

U of T researcher finds Earth-like conditions in little-known exoplanet – and discovers a new planet

U of T researcher finds Earth-like conditions in little-known exoplanet – and discovers a new planet

Located 111 million light years away, the planet known as K2-18b has been described as a potential "Super-Earth" - a large rocky planet capable of supporting life. They found the planets circling the red dwarf star K2-18, which is part of the constellation, Leo.

The latest study, by scientists at the University of Texas, Scarborough, and the University of Montreal, Canada, was conducted out using the data from the European Southern Observatory.

As for the neighbouring planet K2-18c, the researchers concluded that it was quite close to the sun and therefore uninhabitable due to high temperatures, but like the K2-18b it is also a Super-Earth. The planet is also a super-Earth, but likely orbits too close to its parent star to have liquid water on its surface.

In a significant breakthrough in man's relentless search for life beyond Earth, a new research claims to have found a planet that could host alien life. The High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) planet-finding spectrograph installed on the telescope measures the radial velocities of stars, which are affected by any nearby planets, with the highest accuracy available, enabling it to detect even the smallest of planets. By measuring the radial velocities of stars, which can be influenced by the presence of planets around those stars, HARPS can allow for the detection of the planets around the stars. They measured radial velocities of stars, which can reveal the existence of planets located around the measured stars.

The researchers were trying to determine what K2-18b's surface is made out of in their study.

The researchers say K2-18b will be a prime target for Nasa's James Webb Space telescope, which will search for planets with habitable atmospheres, when it launches in 2019.

"If you can get the mass and radius, you can measure the bulk density of the planet and that can tell you what the bulk of the planet is made of", lead author Ryan Cloutier said in a statement.

I'd just like to take this opportunity to give a friendly wave to potentially new pals over on K2-18b, in the hope that they will like us, and not want to death-ray us out of existence.

"It wasn't a eureka moment because we still had to go through a checklist of things to do in order to verify the data", Cloutier said.

The second planet popped up when Cloutier noticed a different signal in the data than from K2-18b, which orbits its star every 33 days.

JWST is NASA's successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and is now scheduled to be launched in spring 2019.

"There's a lot of demand to use this telescope, so you have to be meticulous in choosing which exoplanets to look at", says René Doyon, a co-author on the paper who is with Université de Montréal Institute and a principal investigator for NIRISS, which is the Canadian Space Agency instrument on board the James Webb Space Telescope.

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