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Kepler astronomers discover four promising planets orbiting Dwarf Star 181 light-years away

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posted on Jul, 18 2016 @ 03:07 PM
The four planets are among 104 new planets discovered since the start of Kepler's K2 mission , the planets orbit a Dwarf Star 181 light-years away and astronomers believe they could be rocky.

These four planets, all between 20 and 50 percent larger than Earth by diameter, are orbiting the M dwarf star K2-72, found 181 light-years away in the direction of the Aquarius constellation. The host star is less than half the size of the sun and less bright.

The planets' orbital periods range from five-and-a-half to 24 days, and two of them may experience irradiation levels from their star comparable to those on Earth. Despite their tight orbits -- closer than Mercury's orbit around our sun -- the possibility that life could arise on a planet around such a star cannot be ruled out, according to lead author Ian Crossfield, a Sagan Fellow at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.

So that's four more targets for JWST to take a look at in 2018 , the discovery of our first inhabited Exoplanet draws closer.

posted on Jul, 18 2016 @ 03:47 PM
That is super exciting! Thanks for the news.

I am very interested in planets around dwarf red M class stars, and potential habitability.

I was reading another article today speculating about surface composition of rocky planets, and the influence of this on potential habitability, over at


Also, I was reading about how stars the size of our sun can strip away atmosphere with solar wind, and planets can also have an 'electric wind' that can add to this.

So I would be interested to know what anyone here can tell me: do red dwarf stars have the same strength of solar wind, or less? Their habitable zones based on the amount of radiant energy they provide are closer in towards the star, necessarily. Does this mean that the solar wind is stronger, or is their solar wind weaker due to dwarf size, negating this?

Any thoughts?

Your article has made me wonder

edit on 18-7-2016 by Fowlerstoad because: link didnt work initially

posted on Jul, 18 2016 @ 05:13 PM
a reply to: Fowlerstoad

So I would be interested to know what anyone here can tell me: do red dwarf stars have the same strength of solar wind, or less?

It looks like it depends on the age of the star.

Even between flares, the combination of UV light and stellar winds can strip away the atmosphere if nothing is protecting or replenishing it.? However, all hope is not lost. The high-energy radiation is predominantly emitted by young stars. As they age, red dwarfs become less magnetically active, while continuing to shine steadily at visible wavelengths for 100 billion years or more.
Therefore, if an orbiting planet can just hold onto its atmosphere through the wild early years of its red dwarf roommate, it could end up being a decent place to live.

posted on Jul, 19 2016 @ 02:34 AM
Cool stuff!

edit on 19-7-2016 by SkinnySteve because: (no reason given)

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