Super-earth found near ‘habitable zone’
The presence of a super-Earth exoplanet has recently come to light that is found to be within the ‘habitable zone’ of its star. The exoplanet goes by the Ross 508b, and is about 36.5 light-years away from us. It is about four times bigger than earth. As per experts, the exoplanet is ‘likely to be terrestrial, or rocky, rather than gaseous.’
What is habitable zone?
- The exoplanet is unlikely to be habitable for life as we know it; however, the discovery demonstrates the efficacy of the techniques used to locate small planets around dim stars.
- The hunt for habitable exoplanets is stymied somewhat by the very nature of what we believe those exoplanets to be like.
- The only template we have is Earth: a relatively small planet, orbiting at a distance from its star where temperatures are conducive to liquid water on the surface. This is what's known as the 'habitable zone'.
- Those aren't the only factors at play, obviously – Mars falls inside the Sun's habitable zone, for instance – but they're the easiest ones to screen for.
- The exoplanet was discovered while following the movement of a tiny group of stars. It was found by using the NOAJ Subaru Telescope.