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

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:14PM (#44103921)

    Everything is relative. 22 light years, ludicrously far away in every day terms, is a hop skip and a jump in astronomical terms.

  • by dadelbunts (1727498) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:14PM (#44103923)
    Maybe not today. But 22 light years is pretty close in galactit terms. Even at half the speed of light you can get there in less than a lifetime. Technology tends to advance forward you know. 150 years ago the thought of getting from N.Y to London in 8 hours was the stuff of fantasy. Today its an everyday thing.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:25PM (#44104045)

    There are many exoplanet claims with both the transit method and the Doppler method. What I'd like to see is use them in the same systems to see whether they yield the same results. Right now, these are only predictions, not discoveries, and they are hard to verify.

  • Re:"Nearby star" (Score:1, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @03:50PM (#44104325) Journal

    Right now it doesn't matter if it were 1.5 light seconds away. We can't get there. It may as well be in another universe. By the time we can conveniently travel that far, the whole concept of distance will be meaningless. For the sake of argument, yes, 22 light years is closer than 13 billion, but for now, in practical terms, the distance is infinite. If you already bought your ticket, I would suggest you ask for a refund.

  • by tragedy (27079) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:02PM (#44104491)

    The problem is, we don't even have space shuttles any more. We're technologically regressing as far as air and space go. Still, if we ever manage to get our act together well enough to actually build something like a generation ship, 22 light years away is pretty close, relatively speaking.

  • Re:"Nearby star" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:03PM (#44104519)

    Bullshit, you didn't even get your numbers right with that hyperbole. Orders of magnitude are tough, but not entirely unworkable.

    Mars is 22 light MINUTES away, and we can get there reasonable well if we had a mind to.

    If you can get up to a decent fraction of the speed of light, energetically very expensive I'll grant you, a ship could get to one of these worlds in 100 years or so. That's a long time, but it's not so long as to be considered infinite or unworkable. If you take the point of view that's it pointless to consider how far our grasp can extend, of course we'll never get there.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:05PM (#44104543)

    perhaps another race has sent a probe at us? And if so, how would we spot it?

    Most likely the probe would contain simple life forms which would try to blend in with society by assuming places of privileged power. The kind of power to pass legislation or create policies to give them better leverage over the populace as a whole.

    It would not be difficult to spot, however it would be difficult to extricate them once they become resident as they would almost certainly ascertain some control over local and national media in order to sway public opinion in places where rhetoric and ignorance can easily give them political footholds in which to extend their residence.

  • by julesh (229690) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:06PM (#44104557)

    Technology has always advanced in fits and starts. That enthusiasm for a particular field has waned and our achievements in it have regressed does not mean it will not begin advancing again.

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

    by isorox (205688) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:11PM (#44104639) Homepage Journal

    Right now it doesn't matter if it were 1.5 light seconds away. We can't get there. It may as well be in another universe. By the time we can conveniently travel that far, the whole concept of distance will be meaningless. For the sake of argument, yes, 22 light years is closer than 13 billion, but for now, in practical terms, the distance is infinite. If you already bought your ticket, I would suggest you ask for a refund.

    22 years means you can send a message and get a response in your lifetime.

  • by sabri (584428) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @04:40PM (#44104983)

    Or investing in either cryogenics or machine digitization of human consciousness. Because without one of the two, its just plain not going to happen.

    Zefram Cochrane disagrees with you... :)

  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:09PM (#44105391)

    But we as a species are still quite capable of it. Concorde was basically a passenger jet with military spec engines; expensive as hell and incredibly noisy, never exactly a great commercial idea. Basically just another penis-waving contest for the British and French governments. Both the engines and the technology to make the vehicles are still available (and massively improved), it's just there's less appetite for intra-governmental penis waving than there was a few decades ago.

    Technology continues to march onwards, and I'm sure supersonic passenger flights will return as soon as the technology reaches a point where it is commercially viable. Just because people prefer to spend their money on pocket-sized super-computers (by the standards of the date when Concorde first flew) than marginally faster trans-Atlantic travel, doesn't mean the world is entering a technological dark age. Quite the reverse, in my opinion.

  • by Livius (318358) on Tuesday June 25, 2013 @05:09PM (#44105395)

    A genuinely alien form of life could not "blend in" and acquire a position of power. A complete lack of human empathy and morals would give them away.

    Oh....

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