NASA’s satellite has discovered a new planet. Interestingly, it is almost the size of Earth and is located in the “habitable zone”, according to the North American space agency.
Named TOI 700 e, the exoplanet is the fourth to be discovered in the TOI 700 system, 100 light years away.
TOI 700 is the small, cool dwarf star at the center of the system, which is also home to the recently discovered planets TOI 700 b, c, and d.
But only two of the four planets fall in the “gold” habitable zone, where the distance between the planet and the star is at a point that can support liquid water, meaning conditions could be suitable for life.
The discovery was presented Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the 241st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington.
“This is one of the few systems that has many small, habitable-zone planets that we know of,” said Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, who led the work.
A paper on the new planet will be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
may contain water
The discovered planet is located 100 light years from Earth in the Dorado constellation. It was discovered by scientists using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Researchers believe that this is a rocky planet.
Its orbit takes 37 days, which means it is in the conservative habitable zone, the range where liquid water is thought to exist for most of the planet’s life.
The inner world, TOI 700 b, is about 90% Earth-sized and orbits the star every 10 days. In turn, TOI 700 c is 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbits every 16 days.
“This is one of the few systems that has multiple small, habitable-zone planets that we know of,” Emily Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who led the work, said in a statement.
What is TESS?
The TESS satellite monitors large areas of the sky for approximately 27 days at a time. “These long views allow the satellite to track changes in stellar brightness caused by a planet passing in front of its star from our perspective, an event called a transit,” according to NASA.
The mission used this strategy to observe the Southern Hemisphere sky starting in 2018 before turning to the northern sky. But scientists needed an additional year of TESS observations to detect TOI 700 e.
“If the star was a little closer or the planet a little bigger, we could have found TOI 700 and TESS in the first year of data,” explained Ben Hord, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
“This makes the TOI 700 system an interesting prospect to pursue further. Planet e is about 10% smaller than planet d, so the system also shows how additional TESS observations are helping us find smaller and smaller worlds,” Gilbert explained.
According to the New York Post