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Scientists discover closest Earth-like planet that may host life

Scientists discover closest Earth-like planet that may host life

Some Red Dwarf stars throw flares that bathe orbiting planets in deadly ultraviolet and x-ray radiation, but Ross 128 is a quiet star meaning the planets orbiting it are the closest known that could support life. Ben Moore, Director of the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Zurich.

"While the scientists involved in this discovery consider Ross 128b to be a temperate planet, uncertainty remains as to whether the planet lies inside, outside, or on the cusp of the habitable zone, where liquid water may exist on a planet's surface", scientists added. It is suggested that the planet boasts temperatures much like a spring day on earth, but that is just the high end of a range of possible temperatures on the planet that would go from 76 below zero Fahrenheit (-60 C) up to 68 F (20 C). Those characteristics are what astro-biologists assume to be the basic requirements for life, which they've gathered from looking at our own solar system.

Although it is now 11 light-years from Earth, is moving towards us and is expected to become our nearest stellar neighbour in just 79,000 years - a blink of the eye in cosmic terms.

Another requirement for finding life at this stage is that the exoplanet in question must be close enough for astronomers to observe it - or, rather, observe the effect that it has on its star.

[1] A planet orbiting close to a low-mass red dwarf star has a larger gravitational effect on the star than a similar planet orbiting further out from a more massive star like the Sun.

Being 11 light-years away, Ross 128 b is a relatively neighboring planet.

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That could mean it has oceans and lakes in which life may have evolved.

Ross 128, the star around which exoplanet Ross 128 b orbits, is also a red dwarf star - but it's not such an active one.

This Earth-sized world is expected to be temperate, with a surface temperature that may also be close to that of the Earth.is the "quietest" nearby star to host such a temperate exoplanet. "Today we do not have the technological capabilities to find an Earth-like planet orbing in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star", he tells Bustle. Red dwarves are the most common type of start in the galaxy and are often incredibly fierce, blowing away the planet's atmosphere - a necessity for the development of life.

"We are thus confident that Ross 128 b is a rocky planet", he wrote.

Astronomers are waiting for the year 2024, when ESO will be opening the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which will have a mirror around 40 metres across - around four times bigger than any current telescope mirror. Despite this proximity, b receives only 1.38 times more irradiation than the Earth.

Ross 128 had made news earlier this year, when a series of radio signals seemed to be coming from its direction.


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