A Second Earth?
A new planetary discovery could suggest the existence of a second Earth, just a few light years away.
Astronomers have discovered HIP 11915 – a large, gas-giant orbiting a Sun-like parent star about 186 light years away from the constellation Cetus. The planet also has striking similarities to our solar system’s Jupiter (research indicates that HIP 11915 about the same distance as Jupiter does our sun). But much excitement surrounds this new discovery – and if these theories are right, then this can introduce the existence of similar solar systems to ours. And that alone plays a key component in finally solving the question of finding life on other planets.
What’s So Important About Jupiter?
HIP 11915 remains the closest match to a Jupiter-similar planet that astronomers have come across, which plays a key role in determining the life-supporting abilities of a solar system; experts say that it’s existence helps to support the stabilizing the life-preserving functions of Earth. It also allows as protection, with its size and gravitational pulling in otherwise harmful asteroids and other dangers from deep space.
This world was detected this large world orbiting by using a tool called the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), a measuring tool attached to the 3.6 telescope of the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla facility. HARPS caught sight of the gas planet by detecting its slight wobble that it exhibited as it swung around the star. But even using this form of detection, HARPS remains imperfect; there is still a chance that the variance of the output that indicates the planet’s presence may just be a normal part of the star’s behavior. Still, the discovery of this planet opens the possible exploration to uncover more exoplanets.
Key to Finding Life On Other Planets
This also opens the possibility of finding other solar systems with similar structures to ours, where larger planets orbit the outer part of the solar system. And, according to planetary formation theories, these are the solar systems that are most likely to support life-supporting functions similar to Earth. This also impacts other big astrological questions such as the future of other habitable planets and the existence of alien life. What if we ever need to migrate to a second earth after ruining our own, as so many cliche Hollywood doomsday movies suggest may happen? With the discovery of Jupiter-like HIP 11915, we could be one step closer to solving this question.