Since 1995 when the first planet outside our Solar System was discovered, researchers have found about 4,000 exoplanets. And there are more than 3,000 potential candidates. Last week, in a recent study issued in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists from Cornell, Lehigh University and Vanderbilt University revealed that there are hundreds of Earth-like exoplanet orbiting stars that emit the same amount of radiations as our Sun.
The research, titled as “TESS Habitable Zone Star Catalog,” claimed that the more than 1,800 stars that the scientists identified recently as potential candidates for Earth-like exoplanets could be the next set of celestial bodies that TESS can explore.
“What makes this catalog a little different, is it looks at all the stars that TESS can see and it searches for a subset of those stars around which the TESS telescopes themselves, the instruments themselves, would be able to detect transit from a small planet, one or two small transits, and that planet would be in the habitable zone of its star. It’s taking the catalog we already have, and down-selecting to what some people would consider would be the most interesting stars around which to look for planets,” said Padi Boyd, a TESS project scientist at NASA.
Hundreds of Earth-like exoplanets might orbit their stars within the habitable zone
According to the recent study, the majority of the hundreds of Earth-like exoplanets orbit their host stars from the so-called Goldilocks Zone, the habitable zone. A planet is considered within the habitable zone when it’s orbiting its host star from a distance which permits for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface.
“Life could exist on all sorts of worlds, but the kind we know can support life is our own, so it makes sense to first look for Earth-like planets,” explained Lisa Kaltenegger from the College of Arts and Sciences and Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute. “This catalog is important for TESS because anyone working with the data wants to know around which stars we can find the closest Earth-analogs,” Kaltenegger added, who was also the leading author of the study.
The researchers found 408 stars that might be orbited by Earth-like exoplanets. All this recent finding would add to the list of targets of the future James Webb Space Telescope which would launch in 2021.