Exoplanets: Two are potentially habitable.
The newly identified planets orbit the nearby star GJ 1002. They have masses similar to Earth and orbit keeping water in a liquid state.
Scientists have discovered two new exoplanets orbiting the nearby star GJ 1002, less than 16 light-years from the solar system. The two planets have masses similar to the Earth and orbit keeping water in a liquid state. In fact, water is essential to hosting life forms. The habitable period on GJ 1002 b, the innermost planet, lasts only 10 days. It is the time it takes for the planet to complete one orbit around its star. The second celestial body of the system, GJ 1002 c, more distant, completes its entire orbit in 21 days.
“We expect to be able to investigate the presence of an atmosphere around GJ 1002 c, looking for oxygen in particular, using the Andes spectrograph , an instrument whose design is led by Italy, in which Inaf is heavily involved and which will operate in the future on ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, the largest telescope in the world with its main mirror of 39 meters in diameter, under construction in the Chilean desert”, explains Alessandro Sozzetti, co-author of the article and senior researcher at the INAF of Turin.
The two new planets lend themselves well to becoming the primary purpose of future projects related to space missions , thanks to their characteristics. The discovery was made thanks to the combined observations of the Carmenes and Espresso instruments . The first is the spectroscope installed at the 3.5-metre diameter telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. The second is a spectrograph installed at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in the Chilean Andes. With these instruments radial velocity measurements were obtained with an accuracy of 30 centimeters per second. A unique and surprising result.