New planet discovered in Earth's neighbourhood
Reserachers have registered a new milestone in area of space discoveries. A new planet that mirrors earth's size and features has been detected, not too far, just outside our solar system.
The discovery holds much importance because of the planet's closeness to its sun; reviving the speculations of possible life in Earth's neighbourhood. It is estimated to be 25 trillion miles away from us and the temperature at 1200 c.
Science journalists lauded saying,"It's a landmark discovery because it's very low mass and it's our closest neighbour," said Udry. "Its orbit is very close to its star and it must be much too hot for life as we know it but it may well be just one planet in a system of several."
Astronomer Greg Laughlin said: "This is our back yard, so to find out that planet formation occurred there is just extraordinary."
More than 800 exoplanets have been discovered in two decades so far, this one being the closest to the earth. It would take about 40,000 years to travel to the new planet with current propulsion technology.
The device used for the exploration was the HARPS instrument. It was installed on a telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla in Chile. This device is capable of capturing minute changes in the colour of light coming from a host star, since it oscillates under the gravitational influence of orbiting planets.
The researchers have however cited little dissatisfaction in the conclusions, and thus would make their data available to other astronomers to include more inputs. "Actually, I still have my doubts," astronomer Artie Hatzes at Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg, Germany.
"These activity variations have to be filtered from the data before one can extract the signal due to the possible planet," he said. "It could well be that someone else analyzing the same data may come up with a different conclusion. That is why I am not 100 percent certain."