Scientists have discovered 15 new planets orbiting small, cool stars known as red dwarfs near our solar system.
Of particular interest is a planet that the researchers describe as a ‘super-Earth’, which could harbour liquid water, and potential alien life .
The researchers, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, say that red dwarfs are of huge research for studies of both planetary formation and evolution.
One of the brightest red dwarfs, K2-155, is around 200 light years away from Earth, and has three transiting super-Earths, which are slightly bigger than our own planet.
Of those three super-Earths, the outermost planet, K2-155d, with a radius 1.6 times that of Earth, could be within the host star’s habitable zone, according to the researchers.
The researchers found that K2-155d could have liquid water.
Teruyuki Hirano, who led the study, said: “In our simulations, the atmosphere and the composition of the planet were assumed to be Earth-like, and there’s no guarantee that this is the case.”
The researchers now hope to study the planets further to learn more about how they formed, and whether they could support alien life.