The 8 new exoplanets discovered by Astronomers are bound to support life as we know it! All of these 8 newly discovered “alien planets” appear to orbit in their parent stars’ habitable zone — that just-right range of distances that may allow liquid water to exist on a world’s surface — and all of them are relatively small, researchers said.
Most of these planets have a good chance of being rocky, like Earth,” says study lead author Guillermo Torres, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).
Study team members said, that the haul doubles the number of known habitable-zone planets that are potentially rocky.
The new found worlds were all detected by NASA’s prolific Kepler space telescope, then confirmed using observations by other telescopes and a computer program that assessed the statistical probability that they are actual planets (as opposed to false positives).
According to some reports, while none of the eight is a true “alien Earth,” two of them — known as Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b — stand out for their similarities to our home planet (though both worlds orbit red dwarfs, stars that are smaller and dimmer than Earth’s sun).
We don’t know for sure whether any of the planets in our sample are truly habitable. All we can say is that they’re promising candidates,” says co-author David Kipping.
More so, researchers just don’t have enough information. For starters, there’s the ‘uncertainty’ about the planets’ composition due to the estimated rocky probabilities and the planet’s surface temperature is highly dependent on the composition and thickness of its atmosphere, and nothing is known about the air surrounding Kepler-438b, Kepler-442b or any of the other new found worlds.
There are over a thousand alien planets identified as potential worlds by Kepler have been officially confirmed to date, but it’s likely that around 90 percent will eventually be validated, mission team members say.
Among the newly announced 554 candidates are eight that are small (between 1 and 2 times as wide as Earth) and orbit in their stars’ habitable zones. Six of these eight potential planets circle a sunlike star.
These candidates represent the closest analogues to the Earth-sun system found to date. This is what Kepler has been looking for. We are now closer than we have ever been to finding a twin for the Earth around another star,” says Fergal Mullally of the Kepler Science Office.
Kepler has discovered more than half of all known exoplanets. The total alien-planet tally currently hovers around 1,800; the number differs slightly depending on which database is consulted.