Scientists have identified three new planets around a star 22 light years away, one already suspected of hosting a trio of worlds.
This discovery means that the relatively nearby star, Gliese 667C, now has three so-called super-Earths orbiting in its “goldilocks zone”.
This is the habitable region where temperatures allow for the possibility of liquid water, however no-one can be exactly sure what conditions are really like on these planets.
Astronomers can locate it in the constellation of Scorpius.
Researchers used several telescopes including the 3.6m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. This incorporates the high-precision HARPS instrument, which employs an indirect method of detection inferring the existence of orbiting planets from the way their gravity makes the parent star appear to twitch in its motion across the sky.
Estimates suggest the masses of these “super-Earths” range from 2.7 to 3.8 times the size of our planet, and all orbit their star closer than Mercury does to the Sun, as Gliese 667C is a low-luminosity “M-dwarf” just over one-third the mass of our star.
This is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.
For more information direct from the ESO website click here.