'Super Earth' that may hold potential to support alien life discovered

Updated On : 07 Dec , 2017 , 12:46 PM
'Super Earth' that may hold potential to support alien life discovered (Representational Image)
'Super Earth' that may hold potential to support alien life discovered (Representational Image)
New Delhi:

As the hunt for alien life on planets other than our own Earth continues, an exoplanet known as K2-18b has been discovered by researchers which has been described as being a potential 'Super-Earth', a large rocky planet with the potential to support life.

This little-known planet that lies 111 light years away from Earth, has been discovered researchers at University of Toronto in Canada by using data collected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Researchers also discovered a new planet in the same solar system called K2-18c. Both planets orbit K2-18, a red-dwarf star located in the constellation Leo. 

K2-18b orbits within its star's habitable zone, which means there’s a chance it could hold liquid water on its surface, leading to possibility of life as we know it.

Read more: ISS holds 'diverse' community of microbes similar to those found at homes on Earth

"Being able to measure the mass and density of K2-18b was tremendous, but to discover a new exoplanet was lucky and equally exciting", said Ryan Cloutier, a PhD student at University of Toronto.

Cloutier, lead author of the study, said, "It was not a eureka moment because we still had to go through a checklist of things to do in order to verify the data".

"Once all the boxes were checked it sunk in that, wow, this actually is a planet," he said.

The study published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

First Published : Thursday, December 07, 2017 12:24 PM
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