New Zealand-based astronomers have uncovered an exoplanet that is so similar to Earth, they have called it “one in a million.” On the other side of the globe, astronomers from the University of Canterbury have declared that the newfound planet is part of a select group of planets that are similar in size and mass to our home planet.
It must also be mentioned that this planet, dubbed “Super-Earth,” has an orbit length almost twice as long as ours, at 617 days. This is in the conditions that the star it is orbiting is much smaller than our sun, being about 10 percent of its size.
Lead researcher Dr. Antonio Herrera Martin said the discovery was one of the first events he had personally seen and was incredibly rare.
The planet was discovered using a technique called microlensing, where a star passes in front of another star, causing a temporary shedding of light that can reveal other undiscovered stars or planets.
Microlensing is a phenomenon that only affects one in a million stars in the Milky Way simultaneously.
The discovery was made through a method known as microlensing. That happens when a star passes in front of a different one, thus making a momentary shedding of light, in which other undiscovered planets or stars can be noticed. According to Martin, the researchers probably would not have seen the planet if it was smaller, placed differently or with a different orbit. The fact that they were able to see it is a combination of research and incredibly lucky timing.
According to the researcher, the discovery is so unbelievably rare, that it was discovered by accident when inspecting the raw data.
The occurrence was first witnessed through the use of a couple of Chilean telescopes back in the year 2018. The planet was subsequently named OGLE-2018-BLG-0677 after the date of the discovery and the makers of the telescope.