Breakthrough Discovery: 18 New Earth-Like Exoplanets Found Outside Solar System

These exoplanets were overlooked due to their small size.

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In a breakthrough discovery, astronomers recently located 18 new planets outside our solar system. These planets are similar to our planet in size and conditions. One of these planets is also said to be the smallest exoplanet known and is said to be habitable.

Breakthrough Discovery: 18 New Exoplanets Found Outside Solar System

 

According to a study conducted by researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS), the Georg August University of Göttingen, and the Sonneberg Observatory, these exoplanets were overlooked due to their small size, reports SciTech.

The team of astronomers who worked on the project re-analyzed data which was collected by NASA's Kepler Telescope accompanied a new technique devised specifically by the team to discover exoplanets.

The researchers claim that the new method has the potential to find more than 100 more exoplanets form data already gathered by the Kepler mission. The team also estimated the presence of around 4,000 planets.

They also said that 96 percent of them are much bigger than the Earth, and could be close to the size of Neptune or Jupiter. The smallest exoplanet measures only 69 percent of the Earth and even the largest one is only twice our planet's size.

Besides, NASA's planet-hunting probe - the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), also discovered a new exoplanet which is said to be orbiting a star named HD 21749. The star is around 53 light years away from the Earth and is roughly 80 percent of the mass of the Sun.

The exoplanet is named TOI-197.0 or "hot Saturn" due to its humungous size and hot temperature. The researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark say that this is "one of the best-described exoplanets of this type to date."

Astronomers Lisa Kaltenegger and Jack O'Malley-James claim that life on Earth existed when the radiation was way more intense than what has been observed on other close exoplanets. This means life could flourish on these exoplanets.

 

"Given that the early Earth was inhabited," the researchers wrote, "we show that UV radiation should not be a limiting factor for the habitability of planets orbiting M stars. Our closest neighboring worlds remain intriguing targets for the search for life beyond our solar system."

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