A nearby star may be supporting life on two newly discovered Earth-like planets, according to the journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The two yet unnamed worlds were recently discovered by the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) orbiting Teegarden’s Star, an old and remarkably stable star located just 12 light years from Earth.
Scientists are encouraged by the fact that Teegarden’s Star maintains consistent temperature and does not exhibit solar flares or unusual destructive activity, according to CNN.
Ignasi Ribas from the IEEC is part of the team responsible for reporting the discovery of the new planets. Ribas believes that “both Teegarden’s planets are potentially habitable,” and is confident that “we will eventually see if they [planets orbiting Teegarden’s Star] are actually habitable and, perhaps, even inhabited,” National Geographic reports.
If scientists are correct, the stability of Teegarden’s Star has enabled the two newly discovered planets to maintain consistent orbit, temperature and rotational speed. These qualities make the two bodies similar to Earth and may enable the flow of liquid water on the planetary surfaces.
A tour from our Solar System to Teegarden’s Star system can be seen in the following video (artist’s impression): https://t.co/JZnbloKyH4 pic.twitter.com/7b9EslqlsW
— IEEC (@IEEC_space) June 19, 2019
While planet detection is often a challenging and tedious process, Ribas is confident in the findings, National Geographic reports. “This is, to me, a clear-cut case of planet detection. I would bet both my little fingers that they are there.” (RELATED: What Happens Once People Land On Mars?)
The discovery of the two new planets orbiting Teegarden’s Star adds to the ever-growing list of over 4,000 worlds cataloged by NASA, according to NASA Exoplanet Exploration division.
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