Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

New Closest Earth-like Planet (20/12/15)

  1. Dec 20, 2015 #1

    Rio Larsen

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Welcome to my thread. As you have seen from the title, scientists have just discovered a new potentially earth-like planet; it's the closest to us. It's four times the mass of the earth and it's only 14 light years away. The planet is called Wolf 1060c.

    Read more about it here.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2015 #2

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Very cool. Wonder what its surface gravity is (assuming Earth density). About 2g isn't it?

    Alternately, 1061b might be hot, but its gravity would only be a fraction more than Earth's.
     
  4. Dec 21, 2015 #3

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2016 Award

    Here's an image, taken with an 85mm lens- the star is quite visible. The blob is M107.

    master%20fov14_zps2eqxk8zl.jpg
     
  5. Dec 21, 2015 #4
    There are nine exoplanets that are closer than 14 light years.
    1. Alpha Centauri Bb
    2. Alpha Centauri Bc
    3. Tau Ceti b
    4. Tau Ceti c
    5. Tau Ceti d
    6. Tau Ceti e
    7. Tau Ceti f
    8. Kapteyn b
    9. Kapteyn c
    The exoplanets around Alpha Centauri B (both b and c) have not yet been agreed upon by scientists. Confirmation is still pending. Two of the exoplanets around Tau Ceti (e and f) are reported to be within the "habitable zone," but just barely, and they are both larger than 4 M. The same is true for the exoplanets around Kapteyn, they are both larger than 4 M. Like Wolf 1061, Kapteyn's star is also a spectral type M star, which does not bode well for the possibility of life. Alpha Centauri B is a spectral type K1V and Tau Ceti is a spectral type G8.5V star, so they are both better candidates than Kapteyn's star and Wolf 1061.
     
  6. Dec 21, 2015 #5

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    What makes Wolf 1061b notable is that it is both in the Goldilocks zone and stands a good chance being rocky. How many of those 9 are rocky?

    What makes Wolf1061 notable is that it is inactive - meaning no extinction-level flares. Other than flares, I'm not sure what other factors make M stars poor candidates for life. It's getting enough light, or it wouldn't be in the GZ.
     
  7. Dec 22, 2015 #6
    I think you were referring to Wolf 1061c, since Wolf 1061b is clearly not in the "habitable zone." Wolf 1061c is just barely within the "optimistic Habitable Zone" (0.073 AU inner HZ), and not within the "conservative Habitable Zone" (0.092 AU inner HZ) according to Kopparapu et. al (2014). Furthermore, it is most likely not a rocky planet given that its mass is ≥ 4.25 ± 0.37 M and its radius is ≈1.64 R. See "Most 1.6 Earth-Radius Planets are not Rocky."

    The exoplanet's proximity to its parent star is what makes it a poor candidate for life. Spectral type M stars require a "habitable zone" to be so close to the surface of the star, it isn't just flares that are a problem but also the solar winds. A large mass and/or radii exoplanet, such as Wolf 1061c, will certainly help mitigate that problem. Spectral types K, G, and F stars make much better candidates.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook