A team of scientists led by the University of Bern in Switzerland announced the discovery of a planet with an unusually eccentric orbit with respect to the star in its system, aided by the work of the Mexican SAINT-EX observatory.
The planet, baptized with the name “TOI 2257 b”, is the most eccentric that has been discovered around a “cold” star, in this case a brown dwarf: the great variation of this orbit means that the temperature of the star can oscillate between 80 degrees below zero and 100 above zero, according to its discoverers.
The planet has a radius 2.2 times that of Earth, and it revolves around a star much cooler than the Sun.
The discovery of TOI-2257b is reported in an article in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Found with the “transit method”
TOI 2257 b has been discovered with the so-called “transit method”, very common for finding this type of stars when they are very far from the Solar System.
By means of this method, an exoplanet can be detected when it is placed in the field of vision between the Earth and its star, by observing the small shadows that it forms in that transit.
Favorable conditions for life
The discovered exoplanet completes its orbit around the associated star in 35 days, placing itself at a distance “in which the existence of liquid water could be plausible, and therefore the conditions would be favorable for life,” highlighted a statement from the University from Bern.
However, the considerable size of the planet suggests that it is a mostly gaseous star, with high atmospheric pressure that is not appropriate for the existence of living beings, nor is the strong thermal oscillation caused by its eccentric orbit.
The strange orbit discovered, the discoverers of the exoplanet pointed out, could be explained by the presence in the studied system of a large planet, not yet confirmed, which could affect the gravitation of TOI 2257 b.
FEW (EFE, Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Bern)