NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey, known as TESS, has spotted an interesting galactic neighborhood only 33 light-years away from our planet. It’s one of the closest known multiplanet systems to our own. It has a central star and a couple of planets circling around. Scientists say there are at least two terrestrial, Earth-size worlds in the system. The system’s host star is dubbed HD 260655 and is relatively small, cool and categorized as an M-dwarf, significantly less massive than our sun. The inner planet orbits its star every 2.8 Earth days and is about 1.2 times the size of Earth and twice as massive. The other foreign world orbits every 5.7 Earth days and is 1.5 times the size of Earth and three times as massive. Scientists are excited about this system because the proximity and brightness of its star will give them a closer look at the properties of the planets.
The researchers presented comprehensive details about this multiplanet system on June 15 at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Pasadena, California. Team members at MIT include Katharine Hesse, George Ricker, Sara Seager, Avi Shporer, Roland Vanderspek, and Joel Villaseñor, along with collaborators from institutions around the world. Astronomers will study the athmosphere, if exists. At this moment it’s supposed the planets aren’t habitable because they’re likely too hot to host water. The process of classifying and subsequently confirming new planets can often take several years.