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Scientists Find 85 Planets That Could Be Home To Alien Life

Astronomers have found 85 possible planets that could be home to alien life.

The distant worlds – which themselves are not yet confirmed – are thought to have temperatures that would make them cool enough to sustain life, the scientists who find them say.

The exoplanets are similar in size to Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. They were spotted by Nasa’s Transitioning Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS.

TESS enables scientists to observe dips in the brightness of stars, known as transits, caused by objects passing in front of them.

Typically, at least three transits need to be seen to discover an exoplanet in this way, in order to determine how long they take to orbit their star.

However, in the new study, researchers looked at systems that only transit twice, which results in planets that have longer periods of orbit, enabling the discovery of exoplanets at cooler temperatures.

The 85 candidate exoplanets take between 20 and 700 days to orbit their host stars, whereas most exoplanets observed by TESS have orbital periods of 3-10 days.

Researchers say that some of the planets are far enough away from their host stars that they could be the right temperature to sustain life. This is known as the “habitable zone”.

At this stage the bodies still need to be confirmed as exoplanets but the researchers hope this will be achieved with future observations.

Sixty of the 85 potential exoplanets are new discoveries while 25 have been detected in the TESS data by independent research teams using different techniques…

The Independent

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