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'Hot Super-Earths': Spanish scientists find new planetary systems
05 July 2021 @ 15:46

ASTROPHYSICISTS in Spain have discovered two new planetary systems circulating around red dwarf stars, made up of 'Earths' and 'Super-Earths'.

Illustration of a possible ‘Super-Earth’ (photo: Luciano Méndez/Wikimedia Commons)

The National Research Council (CSIC), led by the Andalucía Astrophysics Institute (IAA) in the province of Granada, detected the planets using the telescope Carmenes at the observatory in Calar Alto (Almería province), and says what they have seen 'reinforces the idea that dwarf stars tend to house rocky planets'.

Research team leader Pedro J Amado says the 'current conception' about how low-mass planets are formed in orbits close to very small stars 'points to the fact that these may be abundant in number', with an average of 'at least one planet per star'.

“Despite this abundance, though, we have very little data on the density of these planets which would enable us to work out their composition,” Dr Amado says.

The new systems, in which the team has discovered 'three hot planets', orbit the dwarf stars G264-012 and GI393.

Two planets with a minimum mass of at least 2.5 to 3.8 times that of Earth have been identified, and they take 2.3 and 8.1 Earth days to orbit their star, so a 'day' on the latter planet would be just over a week in our own terms.

The planet orbiting GI393 takes exactly one Earth week to complete a full 'day', and is said to be at least 1.7 times the density of our planet.

According to the CSIC, the three planets fall into the category of 'Hot Earths' and 'Hot Super-Earths', where the temperatures reached are too high to allow the presence of water in liquid form on their surfaces.



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