Superground, located only 37 light-years from our solar system, is located in the so-called inhabited area of its red dwarf star. The proximity of the planet to Earth allows atmospheric research. This work can help researchers to determine whether life can exist around low-mass stars. The details of the study are published in the journal .
The red dwarfs are small stars that make up about 75% of all the stars in our galaxy, and these objects are particularly numerous around our solar system, which makes their systems ideal objects for the exploration of exoplanet and extraterrestrial life.
The fact that the red dwarfs are small means that they are also very cold, with temperatures ranging from 1700 °C to 3,500 °C. Their relatively low temperature makes them dark in visible light, unlike the larger stars. Therefore, astronomers have to look at the infrared range to observe them.
For this purpose, the Astrobiology Centre in Japan developed an infrared Doppler instrument installed on the Subaru telescope in Hawaii, and most recently astronomers used it to detect the presence of an exoplanet around red dwarfs by looking for signs of a change of stars. The presence of the planet may cause a slight change in the magnitude of the star's light wave as it moves to and from Earth.
Thanks to this instrument, astronomers explain that they have discovered a new planet that approaches the inhabited area of its star every 11 days.
Ross 508 b is the first successful discovery of a superterrestrial by spectroscopy only in the near infrared range. Until then, these observations alone were not accurate enough. Therefore, it was necessary to test other methods in a visible light.
"," said Booney Sato of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
The proximity of this system to Earth means that we can use James Webb's telescope to investigate the existence or absence of the atmosphere on this planet. If so, the observatory can analyse its composition and determine its potential for life.
This potential has been regularly questioned in recent years, as these stars, though small, are particularly prone to destructive outbreaks, but a recent study has shown that the impact of these events on the habitat of the exoplanet around the red dwarfs may be smaller than previously thought.