Astronomers have unveiled an exoplanet near the star Wolf 1061, and they believe that there may be life on it. After two years since scientists have revealed a ‘super-Earth’ exoplanet, another scientist appears to have other reasons for caution. In December 2015, a team of researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia announced that they had discovered three planets orbiting around Wolf 1061.
- In 2015, scientists have revealed three rocky planets in the orbit of star Wolf 1061.
- One of the planets was situated in the Goldilocks zone.
- This zone is known to be not too cold and not to hot, proper for liquid water to exist.
They named one of the planet Wolf 1061c, and they observed that it fell in the circumstellar habitable area also known as the ‘Goldilocks zone.’ This area is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist, this being considered a vital ingredient for life. Wolf 1061c is located at about 14 light-years away from our planet, meaning that it is close to us.
The closest exoplanet to Earth is Proxima Centauri b revealed in August 2016, being situated at about four light years from us. Many scientists put their hope in these Earth-like planets which were revealed, believing that there might be life on them. Nevertheless, after taking a closer look at Wolf 1061c, Stephen Kane claimed that he doubts about finding any form of life there.
Professor Kane is an astrophysicist at San Francisco State University. He declared last Friday, on January 20, that the exoplanet is close enough to the star Wolf 1061, looking like a runaway greenhouse. Scientists inform us that a runaway greenhouse effect happened on Venus. Men of science believe that this planet might have had oceans in the past, but the massive volcanoes located on the planet have polluted the air with considerable amounts of carbon dioxide.
Then, powerful sunlight was able to heat the planet until these oceans had evaporated, leaving behind a dense atmosphere that maintains a very high temperature on the entire planet estimated at 880 degrees Fahrenheit. Kane believes that a similar process might have affected Wolf 1061c too. The results of his research will soon be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
The new study has analyzed the host star of this planet. He explained that previous estimate made use of data and models of what the radius of Wolf 1061 could be whereas his study is a direct estimate of what the radius of the star is. He together with his colleagues used different measurements to examine previous estimates of the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of the star.
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