The Hubble Telescope has measured the size of an Earth-sized exoplanet

The Hubble Telescope has measured the size of an Earth-sized exoplanet

The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted an exoplanet passing in front of a star in a triple system, revealing the mass of the nearby world.

The world is called LTT 1445Ac, and it was discovered in 2022 by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The world revolves around a red dwarf star (one of a group of three) 22 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Eridanus. LTT 1445Ac shares its host star with two large planets.

TESS does not have the optical resolution needed to accurately determine the planet’s diameter. Now, a team of researchers has used the veteran Hubble Telescope to verify the size of the world; Their results are accepted for publication in the astronomical journal and are Currently hosted On the arXiv preprint server.

“There was a chance this system had unlucky geometry, and if so, we wouldn’t have measured the right size,” said Emily Bass, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics. Harvard and Smithsonian, and the study’s lead author, V.A NASA launch. “But thanks to Hubble’s capabilities, we were able to determine its diameter.”

Although the Webb Space Telescope — Hubble’s nominal successor as NASA’s large space observatory — has been in operation for more than a year, work on the older telescope has not slowed down. Webb takes in light at infrared and near-infrared wavelengths, which means that some observations (specifically those at visible and ultraviolet wavelengths) are still within Hubble’s range.

Hubble observations revealed that LTT 1445Ac is 1.07 times the diameter of Earth, meaning it is a rocky world with roughly the same gravity as our planet. However, the similarities stop there: LTT 1445Ac has a surface temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), which is very hot — and unsuitable for life — compared to our relatively temperate planet.

“Transiting planets are interesting because we can characterize their atmospheres using spectroscopy, not only with Hubble but also with the James Webb Space Telescope,” Bass said. “Our measurements are important because they tell us that this is likely a very close terrestrial planet. We look forward to follow-up observations that will allow us to better understand the diversity of planets around other stars.”

In fact, just this week, Webb revealed… The sandy, sulfurous atmosphere of a Neptune-like gas giant It is about 211 light-years away from Earth. Finding habitable worlds outside our solar system is a The priority for American astronomy in the next decade. Space telescopes like Webb and Hubble – and eventually the Habitable Worlds Observatory – will be key to finding them.

more: NASA reveals puzzling details about the successor to the Webb Telescope

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