Although astronomers have discovered more than 5,200 exoplanets, less than 200 are rocky — so the discovery of a new terrestrial exoplanet is always exciting.
In a new study, a team of 50 astronomers from around the world have confirmed the existence of exoplanet Wolf 1069 b, which orbits a red dwarf star, Wolf 1069, only 31 light-years from Earth. What makes this discovery particularly intriguing is that Wolf 1069 b is potentially a rocky world, at about 1.26 the mass of Earth and 1.08 the size. Wolf 1069 b also orbits in its star’s habitable zone, making it a prime candidate for liquid water to potentially exist on its surface.
“When we analyzed the data of the star Wolf 1069, we discovered a clear, low-amplitude signal of what appears to be a planet of roughly Earth mass,” Diana Kossakowski, an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany and lead author on the new research, said in a statement. “It orbits the star within 15.6 days at a distance equivalent to one-15th of the separation between the Earth and the sun.”
READ MORE: https://www.space.com/wolf-1069-b-exoplanet-habitable-earth-mass-discovery