Comparison of the outer planet system L 98-59 (above) and part of the inner solar system (Mercury, Venus and Earth). The distances are not correct for the scale. The diagram has been scaled to correspond to the solar system’s habitable zone and L 98-59 (UNIGE).
“We have evidence of a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone of this system,” explains Olivier Demangon, a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço at the University of Porto in Portugal and lead author of the new study. This is an important step in the search for life on Earth-sized planets outside the solar system.
With the help of the “Espresso” instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO VLT) in Chile, a planet half the mass of Venus has been discovered, the University of Geneva wrote in a statement Thursday. It is the “lightest” exoplanet measured using the radial velocity technique.
A planet has also been identified that was almost certainly oceanic in nature and one in the habitable zone. NASA’s TESS satellite identified the three planets on their way around the star L 98-59 and indicated their size from 0.85 to 1.52 times the size of Earth. The “Espresso” instrument, developed under the supervision of the University of Geneva (UNIGE), has determined its density, which allows drawing conclusions about the water content of the planets.
The research team was able to conclude that the two planets of the L 98-59 system closest to the star may be dry, but contain small amounts of water. The third planet can have a mass of up to 30% water, which makes it an oceanic planet.
In addition, the team discovered a fourth planet and suspected a fifth planet in a region that is the correct distance from the star so that there is liquid water on its surface and thus could have Earth-like conditions.
* Specialized Publication Link DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202140728
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