Alien life? Earth-like planet discovered – HUGE boost in hunt for ET

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Alien life? Earth-like planet discovered - HUGE boost in hunt for ET 1

A planet similar in size to our has been discovered orbiting a nearby star. The planet has been called GJ 1252 b and researchers believe it could be key to understanding how common rocky worlds are throughout the Milky Way. What makes this planet so interesting is that it orbits a star which is the perfect brightness for astronomers to study.

When looking for these relatively small worlds, scientists have to study the star and examine dips in brightness which signifies a planet moving in front of the star.

However, the planets are often difficult to spot as they are relatively small and stars are sometimes not bright enough.

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However, at just 66 lightyears away and with a star bright enough, scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) state GJ 1252 b is the perfect candidate to study using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) – which looks for planets outside the solar system.

The researchers wrote in a study published in the online journal arXiv: “Here we present the discovery of GJ 1252 b, a small planet orbiting an M dwarf. The planet was initially discovered as a transiting planet candidate using TESS data.

TESS uses an array of wide-field cameras to perform a survey of 85 percent of the sky.

TESS is capable of studying the mass, size, density and orbit of a large cohort of small planets, including a sample of rocky planets in the habitable zones of their host stars.

The satellite works by searching for telltale brightness dips potentially indicating planetary “transits” — the passages of orbiting worlds across their parent stars’ faces.

“Based on the TESS data and additional follow-up data we are able to reject all false positive scenarios, showing it is a real planet.”

READ MORE: Exoplanet orbiting white dwarf ‘evidence planets survive star’s death’

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