Two “Super-Earth” planets orbiting LP 890-9, a small, cool star located at about 100 light- years from Earth, have been discovered by an international team of astronomers.
The star, which is also referred to as TOI-4306 or SPECULOOS-2, is the second-coolest star discovered to have planets, after the famous TRAPPIST-1.

The Two New “Super-Earth” Planets

  • The system’s inner planet, designated as LP 890-9b or TOI-4306b, is about 30% larger than Earth and quickly orbits around the dwarf star in just 2.7 Earth days.
  • It was first found as an exoplanet candidate by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which looks for exoplanets orbiting nearby stars.
  • The second planet, LP 890-9c or SPECULOOS-2c, is significantly larger than Earth, about 40% larger, and completes its orbit in around 8.5 Earth days.
  • This second planet is believed to be in the habitable zone of its star, which is the region where temperatures are just ideal for liquid water to exist on the surface.

Key Points

  • The discoveries were made through the assistance of NASA’s TESS and the Search for Habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars (SPECULOOS) project led by the University of Liége, Belgium.
  • These findings will be published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
  • SPECULOOS is a project that looks for potentially habitable exoplanets around the smallest and coolest stars of the solar neighbourhood.
  • Super-Earths are a special type of exoplanet in the solar system that are more massive than earth but lighter than the ice giants.
  • They are formed by a combination of gas and rock and can grow to be 10 times the mass of the Earth.

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