An international team of astronomers reports the discovery of two new "super-Earth" exoplanets orbiting a nearby late-type M dwarf star.
The newfound alien worlds, designated LP 890-9 b and LP 890-9 c, are slightly larger than the Earth.
"Super-Earths" are planets more massive than Earth but not exceeding the mass of Neptune.
Although the term "super-Earth" refers only to the mass of the planet, it is also used by astronomers to describe planets bigger than Earth but smaller than the so-called "mini-Neptunes.
Astronomers led by Laetitia Delrez of the University of Liège in Belgium, have discovered two new planets of the super-Earth class.
They observed LP 890-9—a nearby M dwarf star of M6V spectral type, using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
This led to the discovery of the inner planet, which received designation LP 890-9 b.
Follow-up observations of this system with the SPECULOOS Southern Observatory, resulted in the detection of a second longer-period transiting planet—LP 890-9 c.
the astronomers underlined that their discovery makes LP 890-9 the second-coolest star found to host planets after TRAPPIST-1.
They added that LP 890-9 c is the second-most favorable habitable-zone terrestrial planet known so far.
The discovery of the remarkable LP 890-9 system presented in this work offers another rare opportunity to study temperate terrestrial planets around our smallest and coolest neighbors.