This incredible discovery was made by astronomers from the University of Göttingen. They are convinced that they have found two new exoplanets that resemble Earth and could potentially be habitable.
Located 12.5 light years away in the Aries zodiac constellation, these two exoplanets are located in the habitable zone, meaning a perfect distance away from the Sun to contain water in liquid form and could therefore support life. Named Teegarden b and Teegarden c, they are the most similar exoplanets to Earth that have ever been found.
How were they found?
Normally, you need to use the transit method to detect this type of planet. This involves waiting for a planet to pass in front of its star, so you can detect a decrease in the amount of light emitted. However, this technique wasn’t possible in this case. The star in the system where these two planets is located wasn’t emitting enough light, so no variation could be detected.
Therefore, in order to identify them, astronomers had to use the CARMENES telescope which is capable of studying the radial velocity of stars. A photometric study was also used to confirm this discovery.
According to astronomers, Teegarden b, the closest exoplanet to its star, could even have a surface temperature of around 28°C, fluctuating between 0°C and 50°C. Teegarden c on the other hand, could have temperatures lower than -47°C. However, these new exoplanets do have an atmosphere, which increases their chances of being habitable.
For the scientific community, these are very promising results. As a result, Teegarden b and c have been added to the list of exoplanets to be studied more closely in the upcoming years.