GÖTTINGEN, Germany. - If you’re having a bad day and you’re simply over this planet, no need to worry: Scientists have just discovered two new ones that might support habitable environments.
A team of international researchers led by the University of Göttingen in Germany have discovered two new Earth-like planets near one of our closest neighboring stars, “Teegarden’s star.”
Don’t pack your bags just yet, though. According to the press release, Teegarden's Star is roughly 12.5 light years away from Earth.
While that’s pretty far, this star is still the 24th-nearest star system to our own Solar System, and more importantly, it is the closest with several small planets within a habitable zone.
The two planets, Teegarden b and c are part of a catalog of 19 other known planets that could possibly support habitable environments. The catalog lists up to 52 potentially habitable planets out of nearly 4,000 known planets.
"The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system," explained Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen.
"They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form.”
Out of the newly discovered planets, Teegarden b seems to resemble Earth-like qualities the most, having a 60 percent chance of containing a temperate surface environment with temperatures between zero to 50 degrees Celsius.
Teegarden c, however, only has a 3 percent chance of having a temperate surface environment, with a calculated surface temperature of negative 47 degrees Celsius, which is similar to temperatures on Mars.
Astronomers believe that both planets could be a part of a larger system and are the 10th and 11th discovered by the team.
According to the press release, "Teegarden’s star" is one of the smallest stars ever to be discovered. It is only about 2700 degrees Celsius warm and about 10 times lighter than the sun.
“Teegarden’s star” is observable from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and was discovered in 2003. It is currently the smallest star in which researchers have been able to measure the weight of the planet directly.