How NASA finds exoplanets orbiting stars outside our solar system

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How NASA finds exoplanets orbiting stars outside our solar system

An atmosphere could cause it to be warmer.

The potentially habitable planet and two neighboring worlds were found orbiting around a dwarf star, around a third the size and mass of our own sun and 40% cooler. The system is located 31 light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

TESS paid attention to the star dimming every 3.9 days - a fact that may point to the exoplanet possibly transiting its face.

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite found a lot of new planets in its mission thus far.

Visual representation of the exoplanet GJ 357 d in the habitable zone surrounding the star it orbits. The exoplanet is more massive than our home planet and has conditions that suggest it could potentially support life. They just look for dark spots that cross the stars. There's also GJ 357 c, which is at least 3.4 times bigger than Earth - show off. It orbits 11 times closer to its star than Mercury does our Sun.

While it is believed that the temperature range at the very top of the furthest planet could support some forms of life, the atmosphere itself is thought to be too thick and dense, creating an intense greenhouse effect, making it an unlikely host for water and life.

And much hotter than earth, at about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. So far around 4000 such worlds have been discovered.

This illustration shows one interpretation of what GJ 357 d may be like. Planet d orbits within the star's so-called habitable zone, the orbital region where liquid water can exist on a rocky planet's surface.

Since the exoplanet orbits around its host star at about a fifth of the distance Earth revolves around the sun, it may have conditions similar to Earth, as per Cornell Chronicle yesterday.

Even through TESS monitored the star for about a month, Luque's team predicts any transit would have occurred outside the TESS observing window. It's incredibly close to its star, completing an orbit every three-and-a-half Earth days, but because TOI 207 isn't as intense as our own Sun, the planet isn't quite as hot as you might expect. This would make it the most temperate world in the system "and as such, a rarity among known transiting planets". Planetary scientists will now confirm the data using other ground and space-based telescopes. An orbiting planet produces a gravitational tug on its star, which results in a small reflex motion that astronomers can detect through tiny color changes in the starlight.

"TOI-270 will soon allow us to study this missing link between rocky Earth-like planets and gas-dominant mini-Neptunes, because here all of these types formed in the same system", said lead researcher Maximilian Günther from MIT.

TESS kept tabs on the star for about a month and produced ground-based date from the European Southern Observatory and the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile among others.

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