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Three Planets In Habitable Zone Of Nearby Star

June 26, 2013 1 comment

Artist's impression of the Gliese 667C system. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Artist’s impression of the Gliese 667C system. Image Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

A team of astronomers has combined new observations of Gliese 667C with existing data from HARPS at ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope in Chile, to reveal a system with at least six planets. A record-breaking three of these planets are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life. This is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.

Gliese 667C is a very well-studied star. Just over one third of 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 of Scorpius (The Scorpion). This is quite close to us — within the Sun’s neighbourhood — and much closer than the star systems investigated using telescopes such as the planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

These planets orbit the third fainter star of a triple star system. Viewed from one of these newly found planets the two other suns would look like a pair of very bright stars visible in the daytime and at night they would provide as much illumination as the full Moon. The new planets completely fill up the habitable zone of Gliese 667C, as there are no more stable orbits in which a planet could exist at the right distance to it.

Full Story: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1328/
Also: https://carnegiescience.edu/news/one_star_three_habitable_planets
Also: http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/06/25/astronomers-find-three-super-earths-in-nearby-stars-habitable-zone/
Also:http://keckobservatory.org/news/scientists_discover_system_with_three_planets_in_habitable_zone

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