Three Habitable Planets Found 40 Light-Years Away From Earth

This is the closest that scientists have gotten to finding habitation outside Earth.

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Representational image of a planetary system. (Photo: iStockphoto)

An international team of astronomers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has detected three habitable plants 40 light-years away from the Earth, according to the MIT website.

The sizes and temperatures of these planets are comparable to those of Earth and Venus.

The findings were published in a journal named Nature. The paper was authored by a team of international scientists. Their names are as follows:

  • Michaël Gillon
  • Emmanuël Jehin
  • Susan M Lederer
  • Laetitia Delrez
  • Julien de Wit
  • Artem Burdanov
  • Valérie Van Grootel
  • Adam J Burgasser
  • Amaury HMJ Triaud
  • Cyrielle Opitom
  • Brice-Olivier Demory
  • Devendra K Sahu
  • Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi
  • Pierre Magain
  • Didier Queloz
This is the first opportunity to find chemical traces of life outside our solar system. 
Michael Gillon, Lead Author and Astrophysicist at the University of Liege in Belgium

After observing these for months, the astronomers noticed that their infrared signal faded slightly at regular intervals, evidence of objects in orbit.

Further analysis confirmed they were exoplanets – planets revolving around stars outside our solar system.

The planets are revolving around a star-like object which is scientifically referred to as an “ultracool dwarf”. The star is the size of Jupiter – which can fit more than 1,000 Earths in it.

The innermost two circle their dwarf star every 1.5 and 2.4 days, though they are hit with only four and two times the amount of heat-generating radiation that Earth receives from the Sun.

(With PTI inputs)

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