An interesting planetary system at a distance of 35 light years from Earth

When a system is home to one of the smallest rocky planets ever discovered, a planet dominated by oceans, and even Earth-like worlds likely to develop their star’s habitable zone, astronomers paying attention. All these beautiful people you will find just 35 light years away from Earth.

At the center of this intriguing system is a red dwarf star called L 98-59, also known as TOI-175. Two years ago, a team of astronomers relying on NASA’s TESS satellite identified three planets orbiting around the size of Earth.

At the time, these three realms were identified by transit patterns, which include observing small drops in stellar brightness, testimony to the frequent occurrence of one or more planets passing between the star and Earth. gives. The downside of this method is that it only allows you to set the size of the target objects. However, if we want to know what the planet is made of, researchers need a minimum find its mass and radius. from there they can Calculate its overall density and hence estimate its composition.

As part of a recent study, a different team sought to characterize these planets by relying on another method of radial motion.

A minor planet, and an ocean world

This technique is essentially based on the motion of the star due to the presence of planets. In planetary systems, all bodies, stars and planets, revolve around a center of mass. This is the center of gravity of the system.

However, planets, no matter how small, can affect the motion of their star around this center of mass and therefore its brightness. By carefully examining how a star’s light footprint changes over time, scientists can then Isolate this oscillation and calculate the mass of the planet which is at the origin.

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For this work focused on radial velocity measurements of the star TOI-175, published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, astronomers have relied on At the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. This study confirmed the presence of the three initially discovered stars and made it possible to better understand them. among them is One of the smallest rocky exoplanets ever discovered. Designated L 98-59b, the object has about half the mass of Venus.

According to analyses, it seems that this planet and its neighbors hide small cores of iron and each may have a little water in the atmosphere. The third planet is said to have a similar core, but it appears to contain a lot of water, unless one third of its mass.

two other planets, one of which is promising

In addition to these three realms, the researchers also pointed to the presence of a rocky fourth planet and possibly a Fifth your system is evolving into the living area, is capable of receiving the same amount of light and heat from its star as the Earth from the Sun.

Comparisons between the L 98–59 system (top) with part of the inner Solar System (Mercury, Venus and Earth), highlight the similarities between the two. Credits: ESO / L. Kalkada / M. cornmeiser

So confirming the presence of this fifth planet will require more accurate data, but if so, it could be a target of the James Webb Telescope. Once deployed to space, possibly before the end of the year, the observatory will be able to actually focus on studying its atmosphere by focusing on the search for biosignatures.

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About the Author: Tad Fisher

Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.

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