Monday, 14 October 2019 | 10:29 WIB

Astronomers Identify Almost 2,000 Habitable Planets

Astronomers Identify Almost 2,000 Habitable Planets (tabynauka)

NEW YORK, NETRALNEWS.COM - A team of astronomers has identified nearly 2,000 stars to be studied for habitable extrasolar planets. Astronomers from Cornell, Lehigh and Vanderbilt universities have narrowed their searches from the previous 250,000 big stars.

The search will use NASA's Exoplanet Survey Transit Satellite (TESS), which is capable of scanning 85 percent of the entire sky. Instruments on satellites are sensitive enough to see Earth-sized planets that may orbit around 1,823 identified stars.

"Our ambition is to not only detect hundreds of Earth-like worlds in other solar systems, but also to find them around our closest solar system," Stevenson Keivan Stassun, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, said in a statement, reported on the Daily Mail website.

Among the key factors for NASA's search for an extrasolar planet that can be inhabited is its proximity to stars orbiting and star types.

In a statement, the researchers said they would observe the light, temperature and size of the planet. If TESS identifies a planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth, the researchers say the next step is to find out whether it already contains life.

Identifying life for some of the farther and cooler planets is thought to be outside of what is known as the 'habitable zone', which would likely require research directly on the planet's surface.

"We will not yet know if there is something, or anyone, there is someone who can breathe. However, this is an extraordinary time in human history and a big leap for our understanding of our place in the universe," said Stassun.

Last year, TESS was launched on a two-year mission where it will map 26 sky segments. In the first year of its operation, it charted 13 sectors that make up the southern sky and this year, he will soon explore the northern sector.