Super-Earths located around nearby star

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by yaska77

Scientists have identified three new planets around a star 22 light years away, one already suspected of hosting a trio of worlds.

Artist's impression of the view from exoplanet Gliese 667Cd, looking towards the parent star with two of the super-Earths above right (click to enlarge) - Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Artist’s impression of the view from exoplanet Gliese 667Cd, looking towards the parent star with two of the super-Earths above right (click to enlarge) – Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

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.

This diagram shows the system of planets around the star Gliese 667C. A record-breaking three planets in this system are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life (click to enlarge) - Credit: ESO
This diagram shows the system of planets around the star Gliese 667C. A record-breaking three planets in this system are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life (click to enlarge) – Credit: ESO

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.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Mathew says:

    Hopefully some exciting discoveries shall emerge from these planets one day!

    Like

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