Scientists report the discovery of an alien planet very to Earth that it even goes through the same orbit.
What catches the attention of scientists is how eerily similar to this alien planet is to Earth. While the two planets do have some differences, the scientists are focusing mainly on their similarities.
In terms of differences, this planet is significantly bigger than Earth: about four times bigger. Additionally, the alien planet’s main star is what many astronomers call a “failed star.” In terms of revolution and orbit, the alien planet takes about 617 Earth days to complete its revolution.
The new Earth
Despite the differences, astronomers are still optimistic about this new discovery. One intriguing fact about this alien planet is that its orbit is closely similar to that of the Earth.
Three new #exoplanets this week, plus new direct imaging data and transmission spectra! Also, we bid adieu to #Fomalhautb based on Gaspar & Rieke (2020), who showed the object was likely a dust cloud vs. a planet.
— NASA Exoplanet Archive (@NASAExoArchive) May 8, 2020
Astronomers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand made this astonishing discovery. Even more exciting is how they manage to discover it.
The astronomers did not use traditional methods in discovering this alien planet. Instead, they utilize a new technique which they call microlensing.
Astronomers combine the data they gathered from two facilities. One is from the Gravitational Lensing Experiment in Poland. The other is from the Korea Microlensing Telescope Network, which is a group of instruments based in Australia, Chile, and South Africa.
As University of Canterbury astronomer Antonio Herrera Martin describes it:
“To have an idea of the rarity of the detection, the time it took to observe the magnification due to the host star was approximately five days, while the planet was detected only during a small five-hour distortion.”
Is it habitable
According to the astronomers, it is still too early to make assumptions that the alien planet is habitable. First of all, astronomers are still not sure about the details of the star the planet orbits. They say that the temperature of the planet’s main star is crucial to the habitability of the planet.
On the other hand, scientists are optimistic about this recent discovery. For one, it is extremely rare to spot planets that are similar to Earth at this great vantage point. The alien planet is 24,722 lightyears away from Earth.
What the astronomers want to emphasize with this discovery are the powerful tools they use. Microlensing is a relatively new tool, and by far it has proved to be extremely effective in finding exo-planets. The team plans to continue with their research in a bid to discover a new Earth.
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