The news has been buzzing with excitement over a potential Earth replacement located 39 light years away.
The planet named Gliese 1132b is a super-Earth with a pleasant atmosphere and watery presence. The findings, released in the Astronomical Journal, mark the first step toward finding alien worlds that are capable of hosting life.
The Super-Earth Revealed
Known in short as GJ 1132b, this Super-Earth is 1.4 times the size of the planet and has a thick layer of gasses that are either methane or water-based – or possibly both. Scientists are not sure what the thick atmosphere might contain until they can get a better look at it.
This is, however, a significant find, because scientists are now looking to see if there are signs of alien life.
While it is a Super-Earth, they feel that it is unlikely there are inhabitants on the planet, because the surface temperature is approximately 370 degrees Celsius, reports BBC. Furthermore, the hottest temperature sustained on Earth was 120 degrees Celsius – therefore, humans are not capable of living on this planet.
The planet was initially announced in 2015, but it was only recently that they discovered the full extent of the atmosphere circling the planet. Using a telescope from the European Southern Observatory in Chile, they could study it and see how stars passed in front of the planet.
They also noted that the atmosphere is more sophisticated and it can block the light from stars or absorb the light.
For now, they call it Super-Earth, but in reality, it is more like a Venus twin. It is a rocky world with a high surface temperature. However, the atmosphere is more Earth-like. This is the first discovery of a planet that is close to Earth’s size and carries a suitable climate, but they do not detect signs of life on the planet yet.
Researchers reported something strange during their observations. They found that there is a dip in brightness when planets pass by, which makes the planet seem as though it has an atmosphere that cannot be penetrated with wavelengths.
While it is not in the works yet, this new planet might in line for Hubble Space Telescope to further investigate and the James Webb Space Telescope that launches in 2018 may have a mission to the new planet to explore the atmosphere further and determine what it is made of.
While humans are unlikely ever to inhabit the planet, that does not mean that there are not alien life forms living on it. The atmosphere itself is encouraging, and extraterrestrial life could be possible depending on what the air contains.
Also, with the technology advancing, scientists feel that this discovery marks how more developments like this in the future are likely, including the use of ground telescopes instead of solely relying on telescopes in space.