May 24, 2017 | Updated: 05:38 PM EDT

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Astronomers Have Defined Characteristics On Two 'Super Earth' Planets In A Distant Planetary System

May 17, 2017 05:14 PM EDT

The Earth's auroa was taken by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst on Sep. 9. 2014 from the International Space Station (ISS).
(Photo : Alexander Gerst/ESA/Getty Images ) Astronomers Have Defined Characteristics On Two 'Super Earth' Planets In A Distant Planetary System

An international team of astronomers has been able to characterize two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system. The astronomers have characterized the planets by its size, mass, and density.

In their observation of the two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system, the astronomers use the data from the Thüringer Landessternwarte or Thuringian State Observatory in Tautenburg, central Germany. The team was led by Eike W. Guenther, a senior scientist at the Thüringer Landessternwarte.

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The planetary system is located 825 light years away from the Earth, and the two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system are orbiting the star with the short orbital periods of 0.57 and 13.3 days. In their latest observation, Professor Guenther and his team gathered the absolute and relative radial velocity measurements of K2-106 using five different spectrographs. The spectrographs were collected worldwide, enabling them to obtain more information on the planetary system.

From the thorough observation of the two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system, Professor Gunther and team are able to determine that the planets are almost identical and have almost similar mass. The planets K2-106 b and K2-106 c are 7.7 times and 6.8 times more massive than the Earth. While in term of its radii, K2-106 b radius is 1.52 of the Earth radii, while K2-106 c is slightly bigger with 2.6 Earth radii.

According to the early data from NASA Exoplanet Archive, the two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system are orbiting its star with a 0.83 solar radii, which is less massive than the Sun. The result from Professor Guenther's observation provides more data on this distant extra orbital planetary system.

The characteristics of these two 'super-Earth' planets in the K2-106 planetary system provide an excellent laboratory to study atmospheric escape because the planets have almost the same mass but they have different distances from their host star. Other than the K2-106 system, there are other super-Earth planetary systems outside the orbit as can be seen below: