A team of astronomers has spotted a pair of exoplanets with the potential to support alien life. A strange planet that can be classified as a cold Neptune was also detected.
The suitable planets orbit two red stars known as GJ229A and GJ180, with the former being located at a distance of 19 light-years away from Earth while the other one is situated at 39 light-years away from our planet.
It is worth mentioning that the disk of the Milky Way, our galaxy, has a width of approximately 100,000 light-years. Proxima Centauri, the nearest neighbor star, can be found at a distance of 4.2 light-years away.
Red dwarfs represent almost 70% of all the stars found in the Milky Way and are considerably smaller and dimmer in comparison to our sun. The habitable zone, an area that facilitates the presence of liquid water on the surface of planets, is also considerably smaller.
Astronomers Just Found New Potentially Habitable Exoplanets
Previous research also infers that planets present in the habitable zone of red dwarf planets tend to be tidally locked. This means that the same part of the planet faces the sun constantly, while the other part is covered in darkness.
The part which is constantly illuminated is scorched while freezing temperatures chill the other side. GJ 180 d is a super-Earth with a mass that is up to 7.5 times bigger than that of Earth according to initial research. GJ 229A c is a bit bigger.
Both planets complete an orbit considerably faster than Earth, with the first requiring 106 days while the other needs 122 days.
Interestingly, GJ 229A c is found in a binary system that sports a red dwarf and brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs are bigger than Jupiter but small enough the fail the conditions needed for fusion reactions.
The cold Neptune planet, GJ 443 d, is the nearest, widest and closest planet of this type. A comprehensive paper was published in a scientific journal.