Calar Alto Observatory unveils latest discovery

Calar Alto Observatory unveils latest discovery.

Calar Alto Observatory unveils latest discovery. Image: Calar Alto Observatory.

The Calar Alto Observatory in Almeria has made a significant discovery: a transiting “exo-Venus” located 40 light years away.

An international team of researchers combined data from both space and ground-based telescopes to find this exoplanet, which appears to be temperate and nearly Earth-sized, bearing a striking resemblance to Venus.

Closest Detection

This discovery marks the closest detection of an “exo-Venus” to date using the transit method, observing the periodic mini-eclipses (transits) of its star caused by the planet passing in front of it.

Named Gliese 12 b, the new world boasts a diameter slightly smaller than Earth’s, comparable to that of Venus (approximately 12,000 km).

Spectra from instruments like CARMENES have enabled scientists to estimate the planet’s mass at around 1.5 times that of Earth, indicating it is a dense, rocky planet.

Similar to Venus

The surface equilibrium temperature of Gliese 12 b is estimated to be around 42°C.

However, the actual temperature will depend on whether the planet has retained an atmosphere and its composition since its formation.

With a dense atmosphere similar to Venus, temperatures could soar to hundreds of degrees, capable of melting lead, much like Venus’ extreme greenhouse effect.

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Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.