This artist’s impression shows L98-59b, one of the planets of the L98-59 system, 35 light-years away. The system contains four confirmed rocky planets, the fifth possible farthest from the stars, and is unidentified. In 2021, astronomers measured the mass of L 98-59b using data from the Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) instrument at ESO’s VLT, which could be half the mass of Venus. understood. This makes it the lightest planet ever measured using the radial velocity method. Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

A team of astronomers used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (ESO’s VLT) in Chile to bring new light to planets around the nearby star L98-59, similar to those inside the solar system. I guessed it. Some of the findings include planets with half the mass of Venus (the lightest extrasolar planet in history measured using radial velocity technology), the oceanic world, and potentially habitable zones. I have.

Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio, an astronomer at the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain, and one of the authors of the study published today, said: Astronomy and astrophysics..

The result is an important step in the quest to find life on Earth-sized planets outside the solar system. The detection of biosignatures on exoplanets depends on their ability to study the atmosphere, but current telescopes are sufficient to achieve the resolution required to do this on small rocky planets. It’s not the size. The newly studied planetary system, named after its star, L 98-59, is an attractive target for future observations of the atmosphere of exoplanets. Its orbit is orbiting a star only 35 light-years away, and is now known to host rocky planets such as Earth and Venus that are sufficiently close to the stars to warm them up.

Thanks to ESO’s VLT contribution, the team was able to speculate that water could be contained inside or in the atmosphere of the three planets. The two planets closest to the stars in the L 98-59 system are probably dry, but may contain small amounts of water, and up to 30% of the mass of the third planet may be water. There is a marine world.

In addition, the team has discovered a “hidden” exoplanet that was previously undiscovered in this planetary system. They have discovered a fourth planet and suspect that it may be in a zone at an appropriate distance from the star due to the presence of liquid water on its surface. “There is a hint that there are terrestrial planets in the habitable zone of this system,” explains Olivier Demangeon, a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísicae Ciências do Espaço at the University of Porto, Portugal, and the lead author of the new study.

This artist’s animation shows L98-59b, the planet closest to the stars in the L98-59 planetary system. The system is 35 light-years away from the solar system and contains four identified rocky planets, the fifth most likely farthest from the stars. In 2021, astronomers measured the mass of L 98-59b using data from the Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) instrument at ESO’s VLT, which could be half the mass of Venus. understood. This makes it the lightest planet ever measured using the radial velocity method. Credit: ESO / M. Kornmesser

This study was conducted by astronomers Radial velocity method, The innermost planet of the system has exactly half the mass of Venus. This makes it the lightest exoplanet ever measured using this technology. This technique calculates star wobble caused by the small gravitational pull of an orbiting planet.

The team studied the L98-59 at ESO’s VLT using the Echelle SPectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) equipment. “Without the accuracy and stability provided by ESPRESSO, this measurement would not have been possible,” says Zapatero Osorio. “This is a step in our ability to measure the mass of the smallest planet beyond the solar system.”

Astronomers first discovered three of the L98-59 planets in 2019 using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Exploration Satellite (TESS). This satellite relies on a technique called the transit method. The transit method uses a dip of light from a star caused by passing in front of the planet to infer the characteristics of the planet, find the planet, and measure its size. However, only with the addition of the radial velocity measurements made at ESPRESSO and its predecessor, the ESO La Silla 3.6-meter telescope, the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), Demanjon and his team can find additional planets. I did. Measure the first three masses and radii. “If you want to know what a planet is made of, the minimum required is its mass and radius,” explains Demanjon.

The team hopes to continue researching the system with the upcoming NASA / ESA / CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), but ESO’s Ultra-Large Telescope (ELT) is under construction in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Observation is scheduled to begin in 2027. It is also ideal for studying these planets. “ELT’s HIRES equipment may have the power to study the atmosphere of some planets in the L 98-59 system, and therefore complements JWST from the ground,” said Zapatero Osorio.

“This system announces what’s going to happen,” Demangeon adds. “As a society, we have been chasing the earth. Planet Since the birth of astronomy, and now, we are finally getting closer and closer to the detection of terrestrial planets. Habitable zone On that star, we were able to study the atmosphere. “

The study was published in a treatise entitled “Warm terrestrial planets with half the mass of Venus passing through nearby stars.” Astronomy and astrophysics..


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For more information:
ODS Demangeon et al, a warm terrestrial planet with half the mass of Venus passing through nearby stars, Astronomy and astrophysics (2021). DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202140728

Quote: According to new observations, the mass of rocky exoplanets is half that of Venus (2021, August 5), and on August 5, 2021, https://phys.org/news/2021-08-rocky Obtained from -exoplanet-mass-venus.html.

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