News Worms
News Worms

Potentially Habitable Exoplanet K2-18b Found To Have Super-Earth Neighbor

Potentially Habitable Exoplanet K2-18b Found To Have Super-Earth Neighbor

Renewed interest in K2-18b after its initial discovery is the result of new research that determined the planet was both larger than Earth, and likely rocky, which is enough to classify it as a "Super Earth".

Experts discovered the distant exoplanet - known as K2-18b - is a ideal candidate for hosting other life and is made out of rock like Earth.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Texas, Scarborough, and University of Montreal, Canada, using data from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), has found K2-18b orbiting at a habitable distance from its star, making the presence of water on the planet.

As fascinating as this discovery that hints at the possibility of intelligent life beyond our blue ball may sound, the researchers also managed to locate another planet that neighbours the K2-18b, called K2-18c. HARPS allowed the team to track K2-18's radial velocity as K2-18b orbited it.

Please Wait while comments are loading.

It has a bulk density of 3.7g/cm and is either a mostly rocky planet with a small gaseous atmosphere - like Earth, but bigger - or a mostly water planet with a thick layer of ice on top of it.

Their findings - detailed this week in the journal Astrophysics and Astronomy - proved the exoplanet is a scaled-up Earth, not a scaled-down Neptune.

Humans originated here on planet Earth and, all things considered, it's a mighty nice place to be, but we won't be able to stay here forever.

K2-18b was first spotted by the astronomers in 2015.

Figuring out which is actually true will require more observations, perhaps from NASA's high-powered James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2019.

Researcher Professor René Doyon said that there's a lot of demand to use this telescope, so you have to be accurate in picking which exoplanets to look at.

The Canadian-made Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectograph (NIRISS) is specifically created to probe the atmospheres of exoplanets, and Doyon said that K2-18 is at the top of the list.

The second planet popped up when Cloutier noticed a different signal in the data than from K2-18b, which orbits its star every 33 days. They're extremely common. They're so common, in fact, it's possible just to find another one while you're trying to gather data on the one you already knew about.

Cloutier collaborated with an worldwide team of researchers, including his supervisor U of T Scarborough Associate Professor Kristen Menou, and from the Observatoire Astronomique de l'Université de Genève, the Institute for research on exoplanets (iREx), Université de Grenoble and Universidade do Porto.


editors' picks

December 08, 2017
First lady Melania Trump visits Harvey responders, dines at Whataburger
Harvey made landfall in August and devastated communities in the south of Texas. CNN's Kate Bennett shared that they received no burgers during the stop.

December 08, 2017
GOP leaves little doubt they'll prevent government shutdown
Trump says of Democrats: "They want to have illegal immigrants pouring into our country". The White House said Trump would sign the stopgap spending measure.

December 08, 2017
Airlines moving to ban 'smart' luggage over fire concerns
To date, neither the TSA nor FAA have endorsed a smart bag as approved. "However, the battery must be removable". For manufacturers of luggage with nonremovable batteries, the airlines' restrictions are a blow.

December 08, 2017
Amazon Prime Video Features On Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV is based on the open-source version of the Android platform and does not provide access to the Google store. Being cheaper than Fire TV and Apple TV , it is the best-selling streaming device in the U.S., according to eMarketer.

December 08, 2017
IIHS Top Safety Rating: Only 15 Cars Make Cut for 2018
Over the last decade, vehicle safety has improved dramatically as automakers recognize that safety is a big selling point. Models from a wider range of vehicle types earn TOP SAFETY PICK, but there are no minicars in that category either.

December 08, 2017
Overwatch Winter Wonderland event is back with an exciting game mode
As Kaplan revealed, all Meis will also have an extra ability, setting ice traps all around the map for Yeti Winston to step on. One such game is Overwatch , which will host its Winter Wonderland event for the second year in the row beginning next week.

December 07, 2017
Google Maps adds two-wheel mode for motorbike routes
In India, some highways don't allow motorcycles on them either, so the new navigation routes will avoid those roads. It will also show major landmarks on the route since most of the two-wheeler riders rely on those.

December 07, 2017
Yemen's Saleh Lost His Life over Anti-Iran Stance
At least 13 other journalists and media workers are now held hostage in Yemen by armed groups, including the Houthis and al-Qaeda. That seems to have pushed Saleh into flirting with the coalition, ultimately leading to the breakdown of the rebel alliance.

December 07, 2017
Steinhoff shares sink as CEO Jooske leaves amid 'accounting irregularities'
Its European operation expanded previous year to include United Kingdom discount retailer Poundland . Supervisory board Chairman Christo Wiese will step in as executive chairman on an interim basis.

December 07, 2017
Senate Approves Trump's Homeland Security Pick
Although some Democrats have criticized Nielsen's lack of executive experience, 11 senators on the minority side supported her. Kirstjen Nielsen is now an aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly , who served as Trump's first homeland secretary.