After studying the data sent by the second mission of Kepler K2, a team at the Tokyo Institute of Technology led by researcher Teruyuki Hirano discovered 15 new exoplanets transiting red dwarfs stars of which, one could possibly harbour liquid water due to its super-Earth radii of 1.6 and its distance from the host star which lands it in habitable zone. Researchers at various ground-based telescopes will use interferometry to study one of the newly discovered red dwarf star and its super-Earth-like planet and whether it contains liquid water and other details.
According to the researcher, NASA’s Kepler K2 mission made the discovery of these distant red dwarf stars after which, further investigation will be conduct based on the observations from ground-based telescopes wiz Nordic Optical Telescope in Spain and Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and others. Researchers will probably use interferometry technique to study these distant exoplanets for more information. Teruyuki Hirano who is a researcher at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Tokyo Institute of Technology stated that planets which revolve around red dwarfs are usually smaller compared to the one revolving around solar-type stars. He added that the red dwarf systems are presently one of the main subjects of investigation and it will be an exciting prospect for future research to find more exoplanets that can sustain life.
Per the study, K2-155, one of the red dwarf star discovered by the Kepler K2 Mission is located at a distance of about 200 light-years away from Earth. The star system consists of three super-Earth’s transiting around it with a size slightly larger than Earth and thus, super-Earth. During the study, researchers discovered that a super-earth named as K2-155d which revolves in the outermost orbit around the star K2-155 has a radius of 1.6 times the Earth and it is located in a region which scientists call as the habitable zone. During simulations conducted based on the data obtained from the planet, it is assumed that the planet might have an atmosphere similar to Earth, however, there is no confirmation available yet.
The red dwarf system is an interesting premise that the scientists need to investigate further. Previously, the radius gap between planets and their host star in a solar-type system was reported, however, it was just not that scientists were able to comprehend a similar radius gap between planets and its host star in a red dwarf system which is because of lack of giant planets located in this system. Photoevaporation which is a phenomenon when the host star strips away the atmosphere of the planet transiting around it. The study also investigated the fact that larger planets are located near a metal-rich star and that is what was seen with the planets of radius three times the Earth around red dwarfs which were metal-rich.
Hirano said that NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) which is due to launch in April 2018 will provide more insights on exoplanets and also, allow the researchers to do follow-ups and observations on the planetary atmosphere as well as providing accurate data about the orbit of the planets. The study concluded by Teruyuki Hirano and his team has been published in The Astronomical Journal.