Newly Discovered Exoplanet May be Best Candidate in Search for Signs of Life

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An artist's impression of a newly discovered exoplanet.
Astronomers have found an exoplanet that has the right conditions for liquid water on its surface image credit: ESO).

A newly discovered exoplanet, LHS 1140b, is being called the "best place to look for signs of life beyond the Solar System." The reason is because of a confluence of factors: the planet is likely rocky, orbits a relatively quiet star, passes in-front of its star from Earth's point-of-view every 25 days, and likely has an atmosphere. At the moment, studying that atmosphere in detail is not possible; however, with the next generation of telescopes coming online in the coming years (TMT, ELT, JWST), exoplanet atmospheres will become the new science.

At the moment, we know of over 3500 planets orbiting stars other than the Sun; check out exoplanet.eu for up-to-date information. 

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Newly Discovered Exoplanet May be Best Candidate in Search for Signs of Life
ESO
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Jesse Rogerson, PhD

As a passionate science communicator, Jesse Rogerson loves promoting science literacy to the public. He frequently represents the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on television and radio, social media, and at conferences. A trained and practicing astrophysicist, Jesse holds a PhD in observational astrophysics from York University, and publishes his research in peer-reviewed journals. Jesse enjoys riding his motorcycle, board games, and ultimate frisbee.