Two Earth-like planets discovered around dwarf star

The apparent size of Teegarden’s Star from the exoplanets compared with sunset on Earth. Image credit A. Mendez Planetary Habitability Laboratory University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo

The apparent size of Teegarden’s Star from the exoplanets compared with sunset on Earth. Image credit A. Mendez Planetary Habitability Laboratory University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo

Even though it's so near, its faintness impeded its discovery till 2003.

The two planets orbit Teegarden's star, an ancient star that is only 12-light-years away from the Earth.

Researchers at the University of Göttingen have been studying a star known as "Teegarden's star" for the last three years.

Like most red and brown dwarfs, it emits most of its energy in infrared spectrum, with its temperature at about 2,700 degrees Celsius equivalent to half that of the sun.

A real sunset on Earth, compared to an artist's impression of a setting star on the exoplanets Teegarden b and Teegarden c.

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"The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system", said lead author Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen, who detected the planets as part of the Carmenes project."They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form".

Researchers have so far only found the two planets surrounding the Teegardensun, but speculate there could be a much larger solar system surrounding the star.

Photometric campaigns on this star have been carried out with the Carlos Sanchez Telescope at the Teide Observatory in Spain and with the network of telescopes of the Las Cumbres Observatory, among others.

For the transit technique to be viable, the planets should cross throughout the face of the stellar disc and block among the mild from the star throughout a short while, which implies that it should lie on a line becoming a member of the solar and the Earth.

This lucky alignment occurs for only a small fraction of planetary systems, researchers said. According to professor Ansgar Reiners, this discovery is a great milestone for the CARMENES project, which uses radial-velocity instrument optimized for searching planets ranging from mid-to-late type M Dwarfs. However, it has happened for the first time that the astronomers were able to measure the planet weight directly surrounding the smallest star.

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