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Featured Image Credit: NASA/ESO/P.Holárek
Scientists have discovered a potentially habitable planet 100 light years away from Earth where the average life expectancy would be 3,158 years.
Two planets were discovered orbiting the star TOI-4306 by an international team of scientists, led by astrophysicist Laetitia Delrez.
TOI-4306 is about half as hot as our sun and 6.5 times smaller.
The first planet is called LP 890-9b or TOI-4306b. It is about 30 percent bigger than the Earth and completes an orbit around its star in just 2.7 days.
The current average life expectancy on Earth is 73.5 years. This would mean the average life expectancy on TOI-4306b, which has a much shorter year due to its very short orbit, would be 9,943.
That's a hell of a lot of candles on your birthday cake.
This planet was initially identified by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). TESS is a space mission that is dedicated to the search of exoplanets in nearby orbiting stars. Exoplanets are worlds outside of our solar system.
The researchers at the University of Liège used their ground-based SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) telescopes to confirm and characterise this planet. They also use that telescope to find any other planets that TESS might have missed.
The SPECULOOS telescopes are also equipped with highly sensitive infrared cameras, so it becomes very easy for them to observe these types of stars with high precision.
It is because of this that they were also able to detect another planet called LP 890-9c or SPECULOOS-2c.
This planet is about 40 percent larger than the Earth and has an orbital period of about 8.5 days. So if you happened to live on this planet, you could celebrate up to 3,158 birthdays.
What's more, since TOI-4306 is such a cool star, it means that LP 890-9c could potentially be habitable, despite being closer to its star than Mercury is to the sun.
Francisco J. Pozuelos, one of the scientists who co-authored and helped publish the paper about these planets in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal, explained: “Although this planet orbits very close to its star, at a distance about 10 times shorter than that of Mercury around our sun, the amount of stellar irradiation it receives is still low, and could allow the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface, provided it has a sufficient atmosphere.
“This is because the star LP 890-9 is about 6.5 times smaller than the sun and has a surface temperature half that of our star. This explains why LP 890-9c, despite being much closer to its star than the Earth is to the sun, could still have conditions that are suitable for life."
This also means that these planets are perfect candidates for scientists to study and determine whether there are any possible traces of life in their atmospheres. LP 890-9c is currently the second most favourable target for study by the James Webb telescope.