According to scientists, images from the SPECULOOS (‘Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) telescopes, located in Chile and the island of Tenerife, have indicated that a distant planet may harbor the necessary conditions for life.
The planet LP 890-9c orbits the star, LP 890-9, which rests 100 light-years from Earth. 40% larger than Earth, LP 890-9c orbits LP 890-9 roughly every 8.5 days, which was confirmed by the MuSCAT3 instrument in Hawaii. Scientists believe that fact permits the supposition that the planet exists in the “habitable zone” around the star.
“The habitable zone is a concept under which a planet with similar geological and atmospheric conditions as Earth, would have a surface temperature allowing water to remain liquid for billions of years,” Professor Amaury Triaud, the leader of the SPECULOOS working group, declared.
“This gives us a license to observe more and find out whether the planet has an atmosphere, and if so, to study its content and assess its habitability,” he continued.
“The outer planet is in the inner edge of what is called the habitable zone, a bit like the Earth is. From my calculation, the system is the second best at the moment to study the climate of or find out the atmosphere with an instrument like the JWST,” Triaud observed, New Scientist reported.
LP 890-9c’s sister planet, LP 890-9b, 30% larger than Earth, takes 2.7 days to complete an orbit around the star, making it too close to contain life.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) may be utilized to confirm whether LP 890-9c can be termed habitable. JWST is also studying three of the earth-sized planets surrounding the star TRAPPIST-1, which were discovered in 2017 by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope along with four other exoplanets circling the star. Those seven planets comprised the most exoplanets found in the habitable zone of a single star.
Trappist-1 was discovered to be an ultra-cool red dwarf star much smaller than Earth’s sun. The planet Trappist 1e is considered the most likely exoplanet to contain the necessary conditions for life.
At the time of the seven planets’ discovery, Sean Carey, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center, enthused, “This is the most exciting result I have seen in the 14 years of Spitzer operations. Spitzer will follow up in the fall to further refine our understanding of these planets so that the James Webb Space Telescope can follow up. More observations of the system are sure to reveal more secrets.”