An international team of astronomers led by the University of Bern (Switzerland) recently discovered a sub-Neptune exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star. Named TOI-2257 b, the planet was initially detected by the TESS space telescope on NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and observed over four months.
The study, published Jan.7 in The Astronomical Journal, notes that the exoplanet has an orbital period of 35 days and the closeness to its host star, small and much colder than the Sun, makes possible the existence of water in a liquid state on its surface, a favorable condition for the emergence of life.
However, the experts reported that the radius of TOI-2257 b, which is 2.2 times greater than that of the Earth, points to the fact that the planet is quite gaseous and, therefore, has high atmospheric pressure that makes its operation very difficult. potential habitability. For her part, Dr. Nicole Schanche added that the planet “Does not have a concentric circular orbit”and, in fact, it is the most eccentric orbiting a cold star ever discovered.
“Although the average temperature of the planet is pleasant, it varies from -80 ° C to approximately 100 ° C, depending on the part of the orbit in which the planet is, far or near the star”explained the researcher, adding that it is possible that a giant planet lurks and disturbs the orbit of TOI 2257 b and, consequently, causes such abrupt temperature changes.
The study indicates that the investigation of the exoplanet has not yet concluded and will be subjected to future observations. “In particular, the planet could be studied for signs of features such as water vapor in the atmosphere.”Schanche reported.
(With information from RT in Spanish)