From Manu Garcia: “A super-Earth discovered nearby in the habitable zone of a cold star”

Manu Garcia

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Artistic design of the super-Earth GJ 625 by its star, GJ625 (Gliese 625).
Credit: Gabriel Pérez, SMM (IAC).

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Super Earth position regarding the habitable zone of its star. Gliese 625.

An international team led by researchers from the IAC, Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, discovered with the radial velocity technique possibly rocky planet on the edge of the habitable zone of a red dwarf. Only tens of planetary systems of this type and detection was possible with HARPS-N spectrograph Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), installed in the Roque of Boys, La Palma known.

With this method, the study led by researchers Alejandro Suarez Mascareño (IAC-Geneva Observatory), Jonay Isai Gonzalez Hernandez (IAC) and Rafael Rebolo (IAC), has led to the discovery of a planet with a mass between two and three times land that could be rocky. This is the sixth super-Earth closest to our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, a red dwarf which is among the 100 stars closest to the sun. The results of this study, which also involved the INAF (INAF), the IEEC (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia) and the TNG (Telescopio Nazionale Galilleo) have been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy&Astrophysics.

INAF Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, a 3.58-meter Italian telescope, located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain.

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Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Spanish: Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, ORM) is an astronomical observatory located in the municipality of Garafía on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. The observatory site is operated by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, based on nearby Tenerife. ORM is part of the European Northern Observatory.

Just 25 years ago that more planets in the solar system were not known. Today, however, we know that there are more than 3,500 exoplanets populating the Cosmos. To detect, there are various techniques, one of the most common technique radial velocity. It is to measure changes in the position and velocity of a star as it and a planet orbiting around their common center of mass. According to the mass of both objects, the gravitational force will vary more or less and that effect will be reflected in a shift in the spectrum of the observed star.

With this method, the study led by researchers Alejandro Suarez Mascareño (IAC-Geneva Observatory), Jonay Isai Gonzalez Hernandez (IAC) and Rafael Rebolo (IAC), has led to the discovery of a planet with a mass between two and three times land that could be rocky. This is the sixth super-Earth closest to our solar system in the habitable zone of its star, a red dwarf which is among the 100 stars closest to the sun. The results of this study, which also involved the INAF (INAF), the IEEC (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia) and the TNG (Telescopio Nazionale Galilleo) have been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy&Astrophysics.

This planet is especially interesting because of its proximity. A 21 light years away in our cosmic neighborhood, it is one of the least known super-Earths mass, which also is in the habitable zone of the star GJ625 (Gliese 625) , a red dwarf. Although these stars are most common in the universe and can accommodate other lands, just a few hundred planets around them are known. Most are found in very distant stars with the transit technique, a small eclipse that produces a planet passing in front of the stellar disk. Instead, only a few tens of rocky planets have been discovered by the radial velocity technique in nearby stars, and very few are in the habitable zone.

One of the projects undertaken by this scientific team to study exoplanets around nearby red dwarfs the sun is HADES program in which the high-resolution spectrograph HARPS-N with which detected the new super-Earth is involved. This instrument, installed in the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) of 3.6 m, of the Roque of the Boys (Garafía, La Palma), the red dwarf observed for three years and measured small variations in radial velocity produced by the gravitational pull of the planet.

With the 151 spectra obtained deduced that it takes about 14 days to orbit its star in a close orbit. “As GJ625 is a relatively cool star Mascareño explains Alejandro Suarez, first author of the study the planet would be at the edge of the habitability area, where liquid water could exist. In addition, depending on the cloud cover of its atmosphere and turnover, it could be potentially habitable. ”

See the full article here.

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