An international scientific team led by researchers at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has discovered the presence of two planets with Earth-like masses in orbit around the star GJ 1002, a red dwarf not far from the Solar System. Both planets are in the habitability zone of the star
The newly discovered exoplanets orbit the Star GJ 1002, which is at a distance of less than 16 light years from the Solar System. Both of them have masses similar to that of the Earth, and they are in the habitability zone of their star. “GJ 1002 is a red dwarf star, with barely one-eighth the mass of the Sun. It is quite a cool, faint star. This means that its habitability zone is very close to the star” explains Vera María Passenger, a co-author of the article and an IAC researcher.
“The future ANDES spectrograph for the ELT telescope at ESO in which the IAC is participating, could study the presence of oxygen in the atmosphere of GJ 1002c” notes Jonay I. González Hernández, an IAC researcher who is a co-author of the article.
GJ 1002 was observed by CARMENES between 2017 and 2019, and by ESPRESSO between 2019 and 2021. “Because of its low temperature the visible light from GJ 1002 is too faint to measure its variations in velocity with the majority of spectrographs,” says Ignasi Ribas, a researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) and director of the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC). CARMENES has a sensitivity over a wide range of near-infrared wavelengths which is superior to those of other spectrographs aimed at detecting variations in the velocities of stars, and this allowed it to study GJ 1002, from the 3.5m telescope at Calar Alto observatory.
The combination of ESPRESSO and the light-gathering power of the VLT 8m telescopes at