'Super-Earth' exoplanet found in a nearby star's habitable zone

Astronomers have found a Super-Earth exoplanet, named Ross 508 b, orbiting a red dwarf star called Ross 508 36.5 light-years away.

Published Sat, May 28 2022 1:34 AM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Jun 18 2022 1:08 AM CDT

A study on the Super-Earth titled "A Super-Earth Orbiting Near the Inner Edge of the Habitable Zone around the M4.5-dwarf Ross 508" has been accepted for publication in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

'Super-Earth' exoplanet found in a nearby star's habitable zone 01 | TweakTown.com

Ross 508 is a faint red dwarf star located only 36.5 light-years from Earth. Astronomers have now found an exoplanet, named Ross 508 b, orbiting the star with a mass four times that of Earth's. The planet exists in the 'habitable zone' of its host star, where the temperature allows for the formation of liquid water on a planet's surface.

However, the habitable zone is not the only factor determining a planet's ability to support life as we know it. For instance, Mars falls within our Sun's habitable zone but cannot readily sustain life. Ross 508 b is likely to be terrestrial instead of a gas giant, given astronomer's understanding of planetary masses.

Researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) used its Subaru Telescope in Hawaii to identify Ross 508 b in their search for exoplanets near red dwarf stars. Because Ross 508 is significantly smaller than our Sun, Ross 508 b orbits it every 10.75 days, compared to Earth's 365.256 days around our Sun. The faintness of the star also means only 1.4 times the solar radiation that hits Earth hits Ross 508 b at that distance.

You can read more from the study here.

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