Scientists discover new planets, including 'super Earth' that could support life

The two teams discovered up to 114 new planets

News Desk February 14, 2017
An artist's impression shows what exoplanet HD 219134b could look like. PHOTO: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Research by a team of international scientists has found 54 potential planets. This is in addition to astronomers who have found 60 planets near Earth - with the possibility of many being able to hold life.

One of the exoplanets, described as a hot "super Earth" has a rocky surface and is found in the fourth-nearest star system to ours.

Named Gliese 411-b, the planet suggests that all stars near the Sun have planets orbiting them - which mean that they may have Earth-like conditions that could support life.

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These results are based on almost 61,000 individual observations of 1,600 stars over a 20-year period. These observations were taken by US astronomers using the Keck-I telescope in Hawaii.

The results came as part of the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, which was started in 1996 by astronomers Steve Vogt and Geoffrey Marcy from the University of California, and Paul Butler from the Carnegie Institute of Science, Washington.

Dr Butler said, "This paper and data release is one of my crowning achievements as an astronomer. It represents a good chunk of my life's work."

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Analysis of the data was led by Dr Tuomi, a European-based researcher working on the project. He said, "It is fascinating to think that when we look at the nearest stars, all of them appear to have planets orbiting them.

"This is something astronomers were not convinced about, even as little as five years ago.

"These new planets also help us better understand the formation processes of planetary systems and provide interesting targets for future efforts to image the planets directly."

The group's paper has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

This article originally appeared in The Independent.


Oommen | 7 years ago | Reply Please focus on going there, meet aliens etc instead of "countering" Indians.
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