The incredible discovery of dozens of “near-Earth” planets

Hundreds of days and thousands of observed images came up with an incredible initial discovery: 59 exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system, that are “near-Earth,” and at least 10 of which are said to be “habitable.”

This is the first result of the CARMENES International Astronomy Project, funded by Spain and Germany, dedicated to the search for Earth-like rocky and temperate planets capable of holding water on their surfaces. These first findings were recently published in a special issue Astronomy & Astrophysics.

CARMENES is the name of the project in which more than 200 scientists from eleven Spanish and German institutions are working, and the name of the instrument they use in their observations: “a device that measures both visible and infrared light from objects towards which points”.

The observations, which spanned more than 750 nights, began after the instrument was relocated to the 3.5-meter telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory in Almeria on the southern Spanish coast.

Planets are “in our neighborhood”.

“If our galaxy was a city, we only searched in our apartments, we didn’t even go out to explore the neighborhood,” said Ignacy Ribas, director of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and lead author of the study. told El Boys.

Researchers have observed 362 nearby stars in our solar system, known as red dwarfs, to count and study their accompanying planets.

Although Ribas cautioned that not all exoplanets have solid soil and warm temperatures, four of them are rocky planets similar to our own and at the “ideal” distance from their star to support life. Two of them are in the Teagarden star system, 12.5 light-years from Earth, and the other two orbit the star GJ 1002, 16 light-years from our home. Astronomically, all four are in our neighborhood.

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How were these extraterrestrials discovered?

As they orbit their star, planets make small movements that reflect on them and help show their presence. Before the CARMENES project, there was no way to measure these movements with sufficient accuracy.

Observations centered on red dwarf stars that provide the conditions for liquid water in close orbits and planets like ours can detect oscillations.

To find the planets, CARMENES uses the ‘Doppler’ method, or radial velocity measurement technique, which is capable of measuring the speed of stars very precisely, “on the order of a meter per second, which is the speed of a person,” explained Ribas. EFE Company. In this way, the technique makes it possible to find small planets around low-mass stars.

This tool allows us to calculate the planet’s mass and calculate its temperature based on the distance it separates from its star. Also, CARMENES was the first to use radial velocity to study red dwarfs that are fainter and cooler than the Sun, and a type of star with a different wavelength,” he said, although other scientific groups have used the method since the mid-1990s.

Since then, CARMENES has studied 17 known planets and discovered 59 planets near the Solar System, but “the most interesting plus: CARMENES studies very cold stars, so they are at a short distance from the Solar System”, i.e. In other words, it allows us to find planets that are very close to us, “which we can study in detail in the future”.

The astronomer also explained that the instrument will detect larger planets more easily, so he believes there are many more smaller planets yet to be discovered.

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Between 2016 and 2020, Carmenes discovered six Jupiter-like planets 50 times the size of Earth, 10 Neptunes 10 to 50 times the size of Earth, and 43 Earths and ‘super-Earths’. Reaching up to 10 times the size of our planet.

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After decades of development, a spectacular launch, months of spaceflight and commissioning, NASA has released the first scientific images and spectroscopic data captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. The images hint at the beginning of years of space science, made possible by 21 University of Arizona researchers who played a role in the development and management of the onboard instruments.

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This colossal mosaic is the web’s largest image to date, covering a fifth of the moon’s diameter. It contains over 150 million pixels and is created from nearly 1,000 individual image files.

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NIRCam and MIRI were instrumental in producing many of the published images. Because these tools and others on board work to detect different wavelengths of light, you can stack or compare images to get more information about the composition or composition of your targets. Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe at every stage of cosmic history, from neighboring exoplanets to the most distant visible galaxies of the early universe and everything in between.

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Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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