This Is How Astronomers Will Find New Planets in the Solar System

Astronomers might have a chance to analyze the atmosphere of other worlds from the galaxy. And they might do it with the help of the brightest red dwarf star in the sky at the moment. They might find if those worlds have life.

Scientists are now ready to study the red dwarf star called GJ 887, which is also known as Gliese 887. In case you don’t know, red dwarfs are the most common type of start from the galaxy. They weigh between 7.5% and 50% the mass of the sun.

At 10.7 light-years from Earth, the red dwarf star is the 12th-closest star and the brightest red dwarf from the sky. With about half the sun’s mass, Gliese 887 is the heaviest red dwarf star that’s found at about 20 light-years of Earth.

According to prior studies, many red dwarfs come with planetary systems, made out of multiple small worlds. According to the lead author of the study, Sandra Jeffers, “we’ve been looking for exoplanets orbiting Gliese 887 for nearly 20 years, and while we saw hints of a planetary signal, it wasn’t strong enough to convince ourselves that it was a planet.”

Moreover, researchers examined Gliese 887 for 80 nights in 2018. They managed to do so with the help of the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument in Chile. They combined data from HARPS with measurements of the star-spanning for about 20 years.

Astronomers made the most out of two strategies in order to discover more exoplanets – worlds that are found beyond our solar system. One of them is based on how distant worlds block out some light from their stars when they pass in front of their stars – from the perspective of the observer. With this one, they only found planets that pass through the line of sight between their stars and Earth, so only a part of the exoplanets.

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