Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet outside our solar system which is expected to be temperate and could be a “comfortable abode for possible life”.
This Earth-sized world, named Ross 128 b, is likely to have a surface temperature that may also be close to that of the Earth, according to a paper presented in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The low-mass exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star Ross 128 every 9.9 days. The star is currently located at a distance of 11 light-years from Earth.
Many red dwarf stars, including Proxima Centauri, are subject to flares that occasionally bathe their orbiting planets in deadly ultraviolet and X-ray radiation.
However, it seems that Ross 128 is a much quieter star, and so its planets may be the closest known comfortable abode for possible life, the study said.
The team found that Ross 128 b orbits 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun.
Despite this proximity, Ross 128 b receives only 1.38 times more irradiation than the Earth.
As a result, Ross 128 b’s equilibrium temperature is estimated to lie between minus 60 degrees Celsius and 20 degrees Celsius, thanks to the cool and faint nature of its small red dwarf host star, which has just over half the surface temperature of the Sun, the researchers said.