59 new planets have been discovered in our neighborhood

The search for habitable planets outside the solar system continues! Thanks to custom missions like KeplerAnd he-goatAnd And HubbleThe number of confirmed exoplanets has exploded in the past 15 years (with 5,272 confirmed And counting!). At the same time, the next generation of telescopes, spectrometers, and advanced imaging technologies are allowing astronomers to study exoplanet atmospheres more closely. In short, the field is shifting from the discovery process to characterization, allowing astronomers to constrain habitability more tightly.

The purpose is to find potentially habitable “Earth-like” planets around these faint stars Calar Alto high-resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearts with near-infrared and Echelle Spectrographs (Carmenes), located at Calar Alto Observatory In Spain. In a study appearing in Astronomy and astrophysics Today, Carmen Union published data (Data release 1) data from about 20,000 observations taken between 2016 and 2020. Among the measurements obtained from 362 cool nearby stars, DR1 contained data on 59 new planets.

The CARMEN instrument is an optical and near-infrared spectrometer mounted on a 3.5-meter telescope and one of the world’s most advanced planet-finding instruments using the radial velocity method. Also known as Doppler Spectroscopy, this method consists of measuring the light from distant stars with a spectrometer to look for signs of redshift and blueshift – which show if a planet is moving back and forth. This motion indicates the presence of gravitational forces acting on the star (i.e. a system of orbiting planets) and can yield accurate estimates of the mass.

Illustration of the planets of Carmen. All planets detected in the same way as Carmen, but with other instruments, appear as gray dots. © Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)

The Carmen Consortium that designed and built this instrument includes more than 200 scientists and engineers from 11 Spanish and German institutions. This includes Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), and Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), and Institute of Astrophysica of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), and Institute of Astrophysica of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), and Institute of Ciències de l’Espai (ICE-CSIC), and Institute for Astrophysic Göttingen (IAG), and Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), and Center of Astrobiology (CAB, CSIC-INTA) and Centro Astronómico Hispano-Alemán (CAHA).

As of 2015, the consortium’s goal is to search for terrestrial-type exoplanets around nearby red dwarf stars. Since then, it has become a CARMENES tool multiplied Number of known exoplanets around nearby M-type stars using the radial velocity method. The 59 exoplanets they identified between 2016 and 2019 are either new discoveries or confirmations of previously discovered candidates, including 6 Jupiter-like gas giants, 10 Neptune-like gas giants, and 43 Earths and super-Earths. Ten of these latter planets have been found orbiting within the habitable zones around the stars.

“Since starting Carmen, it has reanalyzed 17 known planets and discovered and confirmed 59 new planets around stars near our solar system, significantly contributing to the expansion of the nearby exoplanet population,” said Dr. Ignasi. Ribas, researcher at ICE-CSIC and director of the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) who led the stud, at MPIA recently press release.

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“In order to determine the presence of planets around a star, we observe them at least 50 times,” added Juan Carlos Morales, an IEEC researcher at ICE-CSIC. “Although the first round of data has already been published to give access to the scientific community, observations are still ongoing.”

Artist’s conception of a rocky exoplanet such as Wolf 1069b orbiting a red dwarf star. Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Daniel Rutter

The paper was published in Astronomy and astrophysics It is the 100th study produced by the CARMEN Consortium, demonstrating the project’s success in detecting exoplanets around faint, low-mass stars. Between 2016 and 2019, Carmens observed nearly half of all near M-type stars in two near-infrared wavelength ranges — 0.52 to 0.96 micrometers and 0.96 to 1.71 micrometers — some of which are only observable from the southern hemisphere. In addition, the spectra they obtained provided information about the atmospheres of the stars and their planets, which is essential for characterization.

The consortium team hopes that the publication of this first large data set will spur further research and discoveries. Experts are also using visible-light data from surveyed stars to improve the processing of infrared data on Carmine. Once this information is public, astronomers will have another large dataset of observations to work with. Meanwhile, the consortium is making more observations of the same stars through it Carmin’s Legacy Pluswhich began in 2021 and is expected to continue until the end of 2023.

The Carmen consortium plans to survey about 300 late main sequence stars from M5V stars — red dwarf suns roughly 0.162 times as massive as the Sun. The ultimate goal is to detect up to two million Earth-like planets orbiting within the habitable zones of M-type stars. This will go a long way toward settling the debate over whether life can survive under “crimson skies,” which is still highly debated. .

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Further reading: mpiaAnd Astronomy and astrophysics

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