New exoplanet discovered by Swiss-led research team

New exoplanet discovered by Swiss-led research team

A team of researchers, led by a group of scientists from Switzerland, have discovered a new exoplanet smaller than the size of Neptune, orbiting around a red dwarf star. 

University of Bern researchers find new planet

On January 7, researchers from the University of Bern in the Swiss capital published a press release stating that a new sub-Neptune exoplanet, named TOI-2257 b, had been discovered. According to the press release, “With its 35-day orbital period, TOI-2257 b orbits the host star at a distance where liquid water is possible on the planet, and therefore conditions favourable for the emergence of life could exist."

However, the brief then goes on to explain that the actual existence of life on the planet would be very unlikely, due to the gaseous nature of TOI-2257 b, and the existence of “high atmospheric pressure not conducive to life."

The planet was found using the so-called transit method - using telescopes to look for dips in a star’s brightness as planets cross in front of it. This allows researchers to estimate the size and diameter of potential new planets. 

Research saw Swiss scientists working with minds from across the globe

The new planet has a particularly unusual orbit, according to the experts, who were fascinated by the discovery. “We found that TOI-2257 b does not have a circular, concentric orbit,” explains Nicole Schanche of Bern University. “While the planet's average temperature is comfortable, it varies from -80 degrees to about 100 degrees depending on where in its orbit the planet is, far from or close to the star," Schanche added. 

One possible explanation that the researchers give for the planet’s unusual orbit is that there is another, larger planet located further in the solar system, influencing the orbit of TOI-2257 b. To understand whether this is the case, the scientists working on the project, who are from across the globe, want to do further research and telescope observations.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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