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Habitable Planet Reality Check: The Earth-Size Planets of Teegarden’s Star

19 Jun 2019, 13:55 UTC
Habitable Planet Reality Check: The Earth-Size Planets of Teegarden’s Star
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As engineers and space travel enthusiasts continue to make progress tackling the problems associated with interstellar travel, astronomers around the globe have been busy searching for targets where these interstellar missions could go eventually. On June 18, 2019 an international collaboration of astronomers announced the discovery of two new exoplanets orbiting the nearby Teegarden’s Star which itself had only been found 16 years earlier. Not only are the masses of these new finds similar to Earth’s, but the amount of energy they receive from their host star is also similar opening the possibility that both exoplanets are habitable. So, what are the prospects for the potential habitability of these new exoplanets given what we now know about them and planetary habitability?

Background
Teegarden’s Star is a V magnitude 15.08 ultracool dwarf located in the constellation of Aries near the ecliptic. The star was discovered in 2003 by a team led by Bonnard Teegarden (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) while they were searching the NEAT (Near Earth Asteroid Tracking) project’s data archive for dim, high proper motion stars. Given the catalog designation of SO J025300.5+165258 (and known by other names like GAT 1370 and 2MASS J02530084+1652532), Teegarden et al. ...

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