Astronomers discover an earth-like world with THREE red suns just 22.5 light years from our home planet
- The rocky exoplanet follows a tight orbit around the largest of the three stars
- One star looks huge in the sky and the other two much smaller
- The new world was spotted with NASA & # 39; s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite
- Detecting exoplanets in trinary star systems is particularly complicated
Astronomers have found a rocky, earth-like world with three red suns – one of which would look huge – just 22.5 light-years away from the earth.
Each of the three stars is a so-called M dwarf – active, but smaller in size than our sun – circling around each other in a complex orbit
The planet was discovered using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched in 2018 to find new worlds around neighboring stars.
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Astronomers have found an earth-like world with three red suns – one of which looks huge – just 22.5 light-years away from the earth. On the photo the impression of an artist from a similar planet in a triple galaxy
The world was spotted by astronomer Jennifer Winters of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and colleagues by searching for the periodic dimming of light from the main star as the planet repeatedly passes – or traverses – past it.
The planet – which is called LTT 1445Ab – orbits around the primary star, just a tenth of the distance between the Sun and Mercury.
Standing on the alien world, & # 39; you see a big orange sun and two much smaller orange-red suns in the distance, & # 39; Dr. told Winters Live science.
& # 39; The primary star would look very large. It's really close, & she added.
& # 39; The other two are much further away. They would look about 100 times brighter than Venus, and about the same size in the sky. & # 39;
Currently, researchers are not sure when and how the three suns seem to rise when viewed from the surface of LTT 1445Ab, because it is not clear at what angle or speed the exoplanet is rotating.
Further studies of the orbits of the three stars may well distinguish this in the future.
To date, LTT 1445Ab is the next-to-nearest exoplanet spotted using the transiting detection method – and the closest one revolving around an M dwarf star.
Although the planet has just been discovered, scientists have known about the three stars for decades.
& # 39; The reason we probably did not find before (LTT 1445Ab) is because it is in this triple system & # 39 ;, said Dr. Winters.
& # 39; Many of these planetary studies avoid these types of systems. & # 39;
Each of the three stars, seen here in reverse colors, is a so-called M-dwarf – active, but smaller in size than our sun – circling around each other in a complex orbit
The reason for this, said Dr. Winters against Live Science, it is that multiple stars in the same system – and correspondingly additional light sources – can make it very difficult to find the signal from a transit planet.
Dr. Winters was attracted to the three-star system because of her research focus on M dwarf stars who until recently had not attracted much interest from exoplanet hunters.
Stars like this, she told Live Science, make a long period of & # 39; adolescence & # 39; in which they are very active and emit significant amounts of radiation.
& # 39; We do not yet know if the atmosphere of planets is able to survive the radiant environment of an M dwarf when it is very young, so this will be a great opportunity to study that, & # 39; Dr. told Winters Live Science.
& # 39; While (the planet) passes in front of its host star, it is illuminated by the light of its host star and we can study the types of molecules that are in its atmosphere – if it has an atmosphere. & # 39;
A pre-print of the article, which has not yet been assessed by peers, can be read on the arXiv repository.
WHAT IS THE TESS SPACE VEHICLE?
The new & # 39; planet hunter & # 39; from NASA, established as the successor to Kepler, is equipped with four cameras that allow 85 percent of the entire sky to be viewed, while the exoplanets search around stars for less than 300 light years.
By studying objects much clearer than the Kepler goals, it is hoped that TESS can find new clues about the possibility of living elsewhere in the universe.
The four widescreen cameras will view the sky in 26 segments, each of which is observed one by one.
In the first year of operation, it maps the 13 sectors that together form the southern sky.
Then, the following year, it will scour the northern sectors.
& # 39; We have heard from Kepler that there are more planets than stars in our sky and now TESS will open our eyes to the variety of planets around some of the nearest stars, & # 39; said Paul Hertz, director of Astrophysics Division at NASA headquarters.
& # 39; TESS will throw a broader network than ever before for enigmatic worlds whose properties can be explored by NASA's forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope and other missions. & # 39;
Tess is 1.5 meters wide and is shorter than most adults.
The observatory is 1.2 meters wide, excluding the solar wings, which have been collapsed for launch, and weighs only 362 kilograms.
NASA says it's somewhere between the size of a fridge and a stacked washer and dryer.
Tess strives for a unique elongated orbit that passes on one side within 45,000 miles of the earth and on the other side as far away as the orbit of the moon.
It takes two weeks for Tess to circle the earth.
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