In an amazing series of events, NASA has discovered an Earth-like exoplanet which is larger than the Earth. The planet is currently orbiting an M-type star, nearly 37 million light years away from Earth.
The planet, named 508b was discovered by the Subaru Telescope, an 8.2-meter flagship located at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. The telescope is owned by telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
According to NASA, the super-Earth orbits its M-type star in 10.8 days. It is 0.05366 AU from its star. An astronomical unit (AU, or au) is basically a unit of length equal to the average, or mean, distance between Earth and the Sun, that is, 149,597,870.7 km (92,955,807.3 miles).
NASA recently tweeted, “Discovery Alert! A recently discovered exoplanet skims in and out of its star's habitable zone. It's 37 light-years from Earth and about four times our planet's mass, making Ross 508b a super-Earth. A year there, one orbit, takes just 10.8 days!”
508b exoplanet orbits an M-type star, which is the most common type of star and is dimmer, cooler and redder than the Sun, according to NASA.
NASA said in a blog, “Its orbit takes it in, and out, of its star’s habitable zone. Such a planet may be able to retain water on its surface and will be an important target for future observations to study the possibility of life around low-mass stars like the M dwarf it orbits.”
The 508b exoplanet has Earth-like rocky terrain which makes it possible for signs of life to exist. This discovery by the Subaru Telescope could potentially allow scientists to study far-located exoplanets and search for signs of life.
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