Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO WORLDS
Astronomers Detect Three 'Super-Earths' in Nearby Star's Habitable Zone
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 02, 2013


Artist conceptualizations offer a graphic representation of radial velocity data that helped to identify the three newest Super-Earths around Gliese 667C. Super-Earths are planets more massive than Earth, but less massive than planets like Uranus or Neptune, and are within their star's habitable zone--not too hot and not too cold--a thin shell around a star in which water may be present in liquid form if conditions are right. This is the first time that three such planets have been spotted orbiting in this zone in the same system.Credit: Rene Heller, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, Germany.

New observations of a star known as Gliese 667C have revealed a system with at least six planets, including a record-breaking three super-Earths orbiting in the star's "habitable zone" where liquid water could exist on the planets. This is the first planetary system found to have a fully packed habitable zone.

"The three planets in the habitable zone are roughly Earth-sized, and only about three to four times the mass of the Earth," said Steven Vogt, University of California, Santa Cruz astronomy and astrophysics professor who is on a team with Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism that made this discovery.

The same team announced last year they had already found one planet in the habitable zone of this star system. They suspected the presence of more planets but couldn't confirm them given the data set available then.

This new result confirms the presence of two previously known planets orbiting this star, but also reveals five more. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds both Vogt and Butler's research.

"Finding multiple Super-earths orbiting in the habitable zone of such a nearby star is quite significant," Vogt said. "It really confirms our suspicion that our galaxy is teeming with potentially habitable rocky planets. Many of these, such as the ones around GJ 667C, are even near enough to imagine sending robotic interstellar probes out to study within a few human lifetimes."

Also funded by NSF, coauthor Rory Barnes at the University of Washington noted the discovery offers additional insights. "The number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy is much greater if we can expect to find several of them around each low-mass star. Instead of looking at 10 stars to look for a single potentially habitable planet, we now know we can look at just one star and have a high chance of finding several of them," he said

Gliese 667C is a well-studied star. Just over one-third the mass of the Sun, it is part of a triple-star system known as Gliese 667 (also referred to as GJ 667), 22 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion). This is relatively close to Earth, within the Sun's galactic neighborhood, and much closer than the star systems investigated using telescopes such as the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

"This discovery is really the start of a whole new era studying Earth-like planets that may have liquid water on the surface," said Maria Womack, NSF program officer. "This is a result of more than a decade of hard work using the best tools to do cutting-edge science--just the kind of research NSF loves to be part of."

The team of astronomers--led by Guillem Anglada-Escude of the University of Gottingen, Germany, and Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, U.K.--combined new observations from Keck and other telescopes with extensive data collected previously by the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher at the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-meter telescope in Chile. The findings will be published this week in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

.


Related Links
NSF
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO WORLDS
Gas-Giant Exoplanets Cling Close to Their Parent Stars
Manoa HI (SPX) Jul 02, 2013
Finding extrasolar planets has become so commonplace that it seems astronomers merely have to look up and another world is discovered. However, results from Gemini Observatory's recently completed Planet-Finding Campaign - the deepest, most extensive direct imaging survey to date - show the vast outlying orbital space around many types of stars is largely devoid of gas-giant planets, which appar ... read more


EXO WORLDS
Metamorphosis of Moon's Water Ice Explained

Scientists use gravity, topographic data to find unmapped moon craters

Australian team maps Moon's hidden craters

LADEE Arrives at Wallops for Moon Mission

EXO WORLDS
Dry run for the 2020 Mars Mission

Opportunity Clocks Up 37 Kilometers Of Roving Mars

Mars Rover Opportunity Trekking Toward More Layers

Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4,000 million years ago

EXO WORLDS
Voyager 1 Explores Final Frontier Of Our Solar Bubble

NASA's Voyager 1 approaches outer limit of solar system

PayPal launches quest for intergalactic currency

NASA Bill Would 'End Reliance on Russia,' Nix Asteroid Capture Project

EXO WORLDS
China plans to launch Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015

Twilight for Tiangong

China calls for international cooperation in manned space program

Shenzhou 10 Returns Safely To Earth

EXO WORLDS
Russian cosmonauts conduct space station tasks in spacewalk

Accelerating ISS Science With Upgraded Payload Operations Integration Center

Strange Flames on the ISS

Europe's space truck docks with ISS

EXO WORLDS
Russian Proton M Rocket Explodes Just After Blast Off

Arianespace takes delivery of its next Ariane 5 at the Spaceport

SpaceX Will Launch Turkmenistan Satellite For Thales Alenia Space

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium student experiments blast into space from Spaceport America

EXO WORLDS
Astronomers Detect Three 'Super-Earths' in Nearby Star's Habitable Zone

Three planets in habitable zone of nearby star

1 star, 3 habitable planets

Gas-giant exoplanets seen clinging close to their parent stars

EXO WORLDS
Low-power Wi-Fi signal tracks movement -- even behind walls

Gartner trims global IT spending forecast for the year

China sets rare earth export quota for second half

EU approves compromise on 'shipbreaking' in South Asian countries




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement