Friday, April 28, 2017

New Exoplanet is Biggest Probable Host for Extraterrestrial Life

Image result for LHS 1140b

We might not be as alone in the universe as we thought.

Recently, a new exoplanet named LHS 1140b was discovered only 40 light years from Earth in the constellation of Cetus. It has been classified as a “Super Earth,” or a larger and more massive planet than ours, orbiting within the habitable zone of a red dwarf star solar system.

Here are the exoplanet’s stats: 18,000 km in diameter (1.4 times larger than Earth’s), at least 5 billion years old, and a density 7 times greater than Earth’s, making scientists suspect the planet to be mostly rocky with a dense iron core.

The main cause for excitement is that the planet is within its system’s habitable zone. While LHS 1140b orbits 10 times closer to its sun when compared to Earth, it receives only half of the sunlight Earth gets due to the red dwarf’s faintness, making most scientists declaring it a worthy candidate to host life.

The B.B.C.’s Sky at Night Magazine had a chance to talk to Xavier Delfosse and Xavier Bonfils, who worked with the CNRS and IPAG in Grenoble, France, and they had this to say about this amazing discovery, “The LHS 1140 system might prove to be an even more important target for the future characterization of planets in the habitable zone than Proxima b or TRAPPIST-1. This has been a remarkable year for exoplanet discoveries!”

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