Sifting through the data from the NASA TESS space telescope, a group of astronomers discovered a new planet that boasts three suns in its sky.
Referred to as LTT 1445Ab, this planet orbits one of the three stars that form a triple system of relatively young red dwarfs (found halfway through their lives), a system that is 22.5 light-years away from Earth, therefore not even very far away.
According to Jennifer Winters, one of the authors who led the study and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, there should be two rather distant and small-looking suns as well as the more reddish light, smaller than the Sun that appears on our horizon, and another larger and much brighter sun.
According to the scientists who analyzed the data, the planet should be rocky and should have a mass eight times more massive than that of the Earth. The surface should boast an average temperature of 160 ° F and the orbit is very fast as it completes a complete turn around its star every five days.
However, the most interesting aspect of this discovery does not lie in the three suns that should appear on its horizon but in the particular orbit that the planet itself travels. Astronomers could, in fact, take advantage of the planet’s position, which passes between the stars and the Earth from our point of view, to study its atmosphere in greater detail.
The same planet, as scientists note in the study abstract, “offers one of the best opportunities to date for the spectroscopic study of the atmosphere of a terrestrial world.” Indeed, scientists may be able to identify the types of gas present in its atmosphere.
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