NASA’s TESS has spotted a second possible planet just three days after announcing their first spot.
“A second @NASA_TESS candidate planet has been discovered!” scientists with the mission announced on Twitter Thursday (Sept. 20, 2018).
the newly found planet is about 1/3rd as large as Earth with a year that lasts just 11 Earth hours. It is orbiting the LHS 3844- a small, faint star called a red dwarf- which makes the planet one of the closest known exoplanets to Earth as LHS 3844 is 49 light-years away, the scientists reported in a new study.
The research team used ground-based telescopes to study the star system to verify the authenticity of the signal they were picking up. That also gave them an estimate of the planet’s surface temperature — almost 531 degrees Celsius.
The proximity of the star to the planet intrigues the scientists’ curiosity on whether the planet can cling to an atmosphere so close to its star. The star’s proximity to Earth means the observations necessary to study its atmosphere may very well be possible, they added.
TESS works by observing a field of stars to monitor their brightness. If those stars host planets that line up in just the right way to slip between the telescope and a star, the instrument registers a slight dip in brightness as the planet blocks the star. By watching several of such events, called transits, scientists can calculate the size of the planet and the length of its year.
The two potential planets are the beginning of a bountiful of discoveries and scientists have calculated may hit 10,000 worlds within just two years.