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3 Habitable-Zone Super-Earths Found Orbiting Nearby Star 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-how-the-orbit,-see-how-they-orbit dept.
astroengine writes "Gliese 667C is a well-studied star lying only 22 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius, but it appears to have been hiding a pretty significant secret. The star has at least six exoplanets in orbit, three of which orbit within the star's "habitable zone" — the region surrounding a star that's not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on their surfaces. Astronomers already knew that Gliese 667C had three worlds in orbit, one in the star's habitable zone, but the finding of three more exoplanets, two of which are also in the habitable zone is a huge discovery. Finding one small planet in a star's habitable zone is exciting, but finding three is historic. '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 ten stars to look for a single potentially habitable planet, we now know we can look at just one star and find several of them,' said Rory Barnes, of the University of Washington, co-author of the study, in an ESO press release Tuesday (June 25)."
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3 Habitable-Zone Super-Earths Found Orbiting Nearby Star

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  • by thue (121682) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:12PM (#44103871) Homepage

    Only 22 light years away! If you go at the same speed as voyager 1, then it will only take 382122 years to get there!

  • Re:"Nearby star" (Score:5, Informative)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:16PM (#44103945) Homepage

    That's funny as hell...

    Why so? In context of just how freakin' big a galaxy or the entire universe is, 22 light years is pretty damned close. The Milky-way alone is > 100,000 light years across.

    Not even 25 years ago the prevailing belief was that there wouldn't be that many stars with planets, and now we're finding them pretty much constantly.

    One of the terms of Drake's equation is how many stars have planets, and that proportion has been steadily climbing.

    So if we're finding this many planets in an astronomically-relative 'nearby', then throughout the rest of the galaxy we have to assume there's just vast amounts of them. Start factoring in the sheer number of galaxies, and even if we'll never meet them, it seems probable that somewhere else would likely have evolved life by now.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.