The real goal for astronomers searching for exoplanets is finding a distant world that might be within what scientists believe is the habitable zone. Those planets, are just the right temperature to support liquid water on their surface and are thought to be our best bet for finding extraterrestrial life. However sometimes a hostile exoplanet is just as interesting and that is the case with a newfound world which is called the Wolf 503b.
Wolf 503b is almost twice the size of Earth. However researchers can’t actually tell if it’s as hard and rocky as the earth or is it just a ball of gas. Whatever may be the case, traveling to Wolf 503b would definitely not be comfortable due to its proximity to its star. The distance between the planet and its star is even less than what it is between the mercury and our sun. This means that the planet is very hot.
Björn Benneke, co-author of the study, said in a statement that Wolf 503b is one of the only planets which has a radius near the gap that has a star that is sufficiently bright to be amenable to more detailed study that will better constrain its true nature. He added that this provides a significant opportunity to understand the origin of this radius gap along with the nature of the intriguing populations of ‘super-Earths’ and ‘sub-Neptunes’ as a whole.
The planet was first discovered with the help of a Kepler space telescope. Its stars are actually relatively close to our planet. They are situated only around 145 light-years from our planet. If seen in the grand scheme of things, they are just a stone’s throw away. This is why the planet will likely be a great target for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to check out. Well, that’s only if engineers ever actually finish building it (the James Webb Space Telescope ).
Scientists could begin to assess what the planet’s atmosphere is made out of with a more powerful telescope. They can also determine whether or not there is water and hydrogen there. We obviously would not know how similar the planet is to Earth until we can observe it in greater detail. However with temperature estimates approaching 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it is pretty unlikely that we would have any chance of finding life hiding out there. Till the time, we don’t find it, we all will have to be content with life on earth.