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Potential habitable ‘super Earth’ found in Milky Way galaxy

NASA Discovers “Super Earth” ⁤in⁢ Milky Way Galaxy with‍ Potential for Life

Exciting news from NASA! Researchers have recently identified a fascinating exoplanet, known as TOI-715 b, within the ⁣habitable zone of its host star in our very own Milky Way galaxy. What’s even more intriguing is that this “Super Earth” may have⁣ water on its surface, raising the possibility of‌ life beyond‌ our ‍planet.

Using the powerful Transiting Exoplanet⁢ Survey Satellite (TESS), scientists located ⁣TOI-715 b, which is situated approximately 137 light years away from Earth. This exoplanet is about one and a half times the​ size of our own Earth. Despite its closer ‍proximity to its⁣ star compared to Earth’s distance from⁣ the Sun,⁤ the star⁢ itself ⁢is a red dwarf, significantly cooler than our Sun. ​This unique combination offers ⁢the potential for life to⁣ exist on TOI-715⁣ b.

Red Dwarfs: A Key ⁣to Habitable Zone Planets

According to NASA, “These planets make far closer orbits than those around stars like ‍our Sun, but because red dwarfs ⁤are smaller⁣ and cooler,⁣ the planets can⁢ crowd closer ⁢and still be safely within the ‌star’s ⁢habitable zone.”‍ This means that even‍ though TOI-715 b orbits ⁤its ‍star ⁤every 19 days (compared to Earth’s 365-day⁣ orbit), it remains within the habitable zone, ‌where conditions for life are favorable.

But that’s‍ not all! NASA believes that this system might also ⁤be home to a ⁤second Earth-sized planet. If ⁢confirmed, this would make it the smallest habitable-zone planet discovered by TESS thus far, adding to the excitement surrounding ⁤this‌ remarkable find.

To further investigate TOI-715 b, NASA is eagerly awaiting the launch of the James Webb Telescope. This advanced instrument⁣ will ‌help determine if ‌the‌ exoplanet possesses an atmosphere, a crucial factor in ‍supporting life. NASA emphasizes ⁢that the planet’s ‌other properties,⁢ such as its mass and potential classification as a “water world,” will⁢ play a significant role in understanding its atmosphere.


The groundbreaking discovery of TOI-715 b was⁤ published in the esteemed journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal⁣ Astronomical Society” under the title‌ “A 1.55 R ⁢habitable-zone planet hosted by TOI-715,​ an M4 star near the ecliptic South Pole.” The confirmation of this finding was made possible with the assistance ​of various telescopes, including Gemini-South, Las ‌Cumbres Observatory, ExTrA, SPECULOOS network, and⁢ TRAPPIST-south.

What is ​the habitable zone, and why is it important in ‌the⁤ search for extraterrestrial life?

E=”font-weight: 400″>Red dwarf stars, also known as M-type stars, are the most common type of star in our‌ Milky Way galaxy.⁣ These​ stars are much smaller and cooler than our Sun, but they​ have the advantage of living much longer. Because of their⁤ long lifetimes, red dwarfs are considered ideal candidates for hosting habitable ⁣zone‌ planets, where conditions may be suitable for life to flourish.

The ⁢habitable zone, also​ known as the Goldilocks zone, is the region‌ around a star where conditions ⁢are just ⁤right ‍for the ‌existence ⁣of ⁤liquid⁤ water⁤ on a planet’s surface. Water is essential for life ⁣as we know it, making the habitable zone a ⁤key factor in the search for⁣ extraterrestrial life.

TOI-715⁣ b’s host star is a prime example of ⁣a ⁢red dwarf that could​ support life. ‌The exoplanet orbits its star in about 15 days, and its proximity results​ in a surface temperature that may be suitable for liquid ‍water. ⁤The team of astronomers⁣ involved in the discovery believe that TOI-715⁣ b receives a similar amount of stellar radiation as Earth, making it a ​promising candidate for hosting life-friendly⁤ conditions.

The Mystery of TOI-715⁣ b’s Atmosphere

One of the exciting aspects ⁣of TOI-715⁣ b is its potential for having ​an atmosphere. The⁤ presence of an atmosphere could further⁣ enhance the planet’s habitability, as‍ it may‍ provide insulation, regulate temperature, and offer protection from ⁢harmful radiation. Scientists are eager to learn​ more about the composition ⁢and structure ‌of TOI-715⁣ b’s atmosphere,‍ as it may hold further clues about the possibility of life on this⁢ “Super Earth.”

To investigate ⁣the atmosphere of ‌distant exoplanets like TOI-715⁣ b, astronomers employ a method called transmission spectroscopy. This technique involves measuring the change⁣ in light as a planet passes in front ⁢of its star. By analyzing the wavelengths of light absorbed or scattered by the planet’s atmosphere, ⁣scientists can determine its chemical composition and uncover important insights about its potential habitability.

Future observations using‌ advanced telescopes and instruments will ⁣play a crucial role in answering the many questions surrounding TOI-715⁣ b and its potential for supporting life. Astronomers will ‌continue to seek signs of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other‌ key molecules that are indicative of habitable conditions.

Expanding Our ‍Understanding of the Universe

The discovery of TOI-715⁣ b adds to the growing list ‌of potentially habitable exoplanets⁢ in our galaxy. Each⁣ new finding ‌brings‍ us closer to answering​ the‌ age-old question of whether we are alone in‍ the universe.⁣ Additionally, these discoveries help us gain a deeper⁢ understanding ‌of ⁢planetary formation, the characteristics of “Super Earths,” and the conditions necessary for life to emerge.

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