The planet Ross 128 is 11 light-years away and 1.35 times the mass of Earth and orbits its red dwarf star every 9.9 days.
Initial data suggest this is a liquid water planet, inside the star’s habitable zone – a very important requirement for finding life.
The upcoming new generation of giant ground-based telescopes should be able to image Ross 128 and study its atmosphere for methane, oxygen and other telltale signs of either life (as we know it), complex compounds or just the conditions conducive to the development of life. THAT would be a new accomplishment.
Today is the 128th birth anniversary of Edwin Hubble – he determined that the universe has more than one galaxy and that those galaxies are moving outward, some at incredible rates of speed – revealing the previously unrealized expansion of the universe.
Jupiter, Venus, and Mars have the pre-dawn sky this week from 6am to sunrise. The moon and, strictly speaking Saturn and Mercury, hold court weakly and very low in the west at sunset.