Black hole
Image credit: Interstellar / R. Hurt / Caltech

Habitable zone has been detected in one of our nearest solar systems according to the newest scientist report. The planet, that is assigned as new exoplanet is only 14 light years away from us. This puts her in one of the most important places for extraterrestrial exploration as it’s the third closest known, potentially habitable, and confirmed planet to Earth yielding interest from astronomers.

Artist's impression of exoplanets orbiting a red dwarf
Artist’s impression of exoplanets orbiting a red dwarf. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The solar system in our neighborhood is the system that is created around the Wolf 1061 star. It is actually red dwarf in the constellation Ophiuchus, discovered at the end of 2015. A scientist has detected three planets that circling around dwarf by now. The one which is completely in the habitable zone is named Wolf 1061c. This planet is located right in the middle of Wolf 1061’s habitable zone: the region where a planet’s distance from its host star makes conditions suitable for liquid water and other life-supporting elements.
Wolf 1061c is a rocky planet and its mass is about 4.3 times that of Earth and orbits its star every 18 days at a distance of around 10 percent Earth’s orbit of the Sun. In our Solar System, that would make Wolf 1061c far too hot for life, but the Wolf 1061 star is much cooler than our Sun, with surface temperatures of around 3,300 Kelvin.

Wolf 1061 system
The Wolf 1061 system. Credit: UNSW Sydney

Leading researcher of this study and one of the most famous planet hunters Stephen Kane explains that the planet is on the inner edge of the star’s habitable zone, wich means it could be that the planet has an atmosphere that’s more similar to Venus.

Also, it is suspected that Wolf 1061c is in the process of so-called runaway greenhouse effect wich occurs when a planet absorbs more energy from the sun than it can radiate back to space. But to know what is really going on the planet’s surface it needs more research of planet’s atmospheric components.
We can’t still claim that there is any life at all, but we have solid ground for further explorations. Scientists now waiting for the launching of Hubble’s successor James Webb Space Telescope, which will be equipped with the most advanced optics and will be able to show us whether water and life could really exist on Wolf 1061c.