Goldilocks Zone Current Affairs - 2020

Super Earth discovered

The scientists from New Zealand have discovered the “Super Earth”. It potentially holds the conditions to sustain human life.

Highlights

The super earth is one of the handful of planets discovered that are of the same size and orbiting distance as that of the earth. The host star of the planet is 10% the mass of the sun.

About the planet

The planet is larger than the earth and hence the name “Super Earth”. The planet could be cold according to the scientists as the star is much smaller than the sun. Due to this reason, water may not exist in its liquid state, but might occur as ice. As the planet is heavier in mass, it might take 617 days to revolve around its star.

The super earth, according to the scientist might possess “Goldilocks Zone” in the future

What are Goldilocks Zone?

Goldilocks Zone is the space around a star where temperature aptly sustains water in liquid state.  The space also supports life.

The planet is 111 light years away from the earth and hence not very possible for humans to reach the planet.

GJ 357 d: NASA’s TESS discovers 1st nearby super-earth

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission has discovered GJ 357 d, a super-Earth planet located 31 light years away from our own solar system. Researchers claim that it is the first nearby “super-Earth” planet that could possibly support life as it orbit within its star’s “habitable zone or Goldilocks Zone”.

About GJ 357 d

It is super-Earth planet discovered in early 2019 by NASA’s TESS. It is located GJ 357 planetary system which has diminutive M-type dwarf sun, about one-third the size of our own sun and harbour in three planets including GJ 357 d.

It is about 31 light-years away from our solar system. It orbits a star named GJ 357. It is 22% larger than Earth and orbits 11 times closer to its star than Mercury does to our sun. It has thick atmosphere and is thought to have surface temperatures up to 254 degrees Celsius. It may be receiving about the same amount of energy from its star as Mars does from the sun and it could be maintaining liquid water on its surface like Earth.

Significance of discovery: It will provide valuable information about this super-Earth planet and other large exoplanets outside our solar system. It has opened has door for astronomers to test theories and models about exoplanets.

Terminologies

Exoplanet: It is planet that orbits star outside of our own solar system.

Super Earth: It is extrasolar planet with mass higher than Earth’s, but substantially below masses of the Solar System’s ice giants, Uranus and Neptune. It only refers to mass of the planet, and does not imply anything about the habitability or surface conditions.