Remember when discovering a planet orbiting another star was an extraordinary find? Now, astronomers are finding exoplanets every day. Although, it is a little disappointing that we could never visit them in our life time, it’s still exciting to think about all those exotic planets which could potentially house future human colonies.
The research team led by Teruyuki Hirano of Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (way too long of a title) have discovered 15 new planets including one that is being called a ‘Super Earth’ orbiting a red dwarf star.
K2-155d is 1.6 times the size of our Earth and is believed to be tucked in its star’s habitable zone. It is believed that this planet could possess liquid oceans like ours.
Researchers ran what is known about K2-155d through some climate modeling programs and found it has the potential to sustain life. Now, this is all theoretical and doesn’t consider the possibility for solar flares bombarding the planet with radiation. That’s exactly what happened to one of Proxima Centauri’s planets, which researchers at point believed to be in the Goldilock zone. That exoplanet was hit with 4,000 times our sun’s radiation during a massive solar flare. That probably killed any hopes of our closest neighbor housing any alien life.
And probably killed whatever was alive on that planet.
Scientists had previously ruled out red dwarfs because the habitable zones around the stars are relatively small. We won’t be visiting the planet anytime soon. K2-155d is around 200 light-years away.