The past few decades in space exploration has yielded the discovery of many Earth-like exoplanets, and scientists have apparently stumbled upon another — one that's seemingly quite close to us compared to other possibly habitable Earth-like exoplanets.
The newly-discovered planet has been named Wolf 1069 b, is only around 31 light years away from Earth, and orbits a red dwarf star (called Wolf 1069) within the habitable zone, meaning that water can theoretically exist in all three states (vapor, liquid, and frozen solid).
In the research paper published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, the planet has also been noted as being possibly quite rocky (similar to Earth), while being 1.26 times the mass and around 1.08 times the size of our own planet.
However, there were some concerning factors about the planet that have been noted, with one of them being the time it takes to orbit its star — only 15.6 days. This is because Wolf 1069 b orbits its parent star at around the same distance Mercury orbits our own Sun.
But while this may seem a little bit too close for comfort, the size of the parent star is much smaller compared to our Sun (and weaker, too), which means that such close proximity wouldn't cause the planet's surface to get too hot for any potential life to survive, and it's been estimated that Wolf 1069 b only receives about 65 percent of the amount of radiation received by Earth from our own Sun.
The other consequence of this close proximity is that the planet is also tidally-locked, which means that it doesn't rotate, and only ever exposes one side of its surface to its star, all while the other side remains in a state of perpetual night.
Models for the planet have estimated that if the planet is without an atmosphere, its temperature would sit at a frosty -23 degrees Celsius, but a present atmosphere would raise the heat up to about 13 degrees Celsius, which is a pretty friendly zone for the habitability of various lifeforms.
The chance of discovering such planets is always an exciting prospect for researchers and astronomers due to the possibility of finding life beyond our solar system, and while we still are yet to come across any sort of extraterrestrial life, experts believe that more discoveries in the same vein can only raise the probability of the discovery of alien lifeforms sometime in the future.
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Cover image sourced from Express and 4K Wallpapers.