US News Potentially habitable 'super-Earths' discovered

20:00  09 august  2017
20:00  09 august  2017 Source:   Sky News

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The MEarth-South telescope array in Chile, which discovered the super - Earth LHS 1140b. “Future observations might enable us to detect the atmosphere of a potentially habitable planet for the first time.

The planet is the ‘first Earth -like planet discovered in the ‘Goldilocks’-zone around another star’, it has an atmosphere but its composition is unknown. Not stellar noise: Potentially habitable super - Earth Gliese 581d exists, new study claims.

This illustration compares the four planets detected around the nearby star tau Ceti (top) and the inner planets of our solar system (bottom). Illustration copyright Fabo Feng, University of Hertfordshire. © Press Release This illustration compares the four planets detected around the nearby star tau Ceti (top) and the inner planets of our solar system (bottom). Illustration copyright Fabo Feng, University of Hertfordshire.

Scientists have discovered two new 'super-Earth' planets which they say are potentially habitable.

They are among four newly discovered planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the nearest Sun-like star to Earth, some 12 light years away.

The two 'super-Earths' are located in the habitable zone of the star - the area that is not too hot and not too cold - which scientists believe could mean they support liquid surface water.

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Scientists have added a new planet to their Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, Gliese 832c, which orbits a nearby red dwarf star, receives the same average energy from its sun as Earth does – potentially making it the most Earth -like planet yet.

Researchers discovered what appears to be another “ super - Earth ” planet–a potentially Earth -like planet that is much larger than Earth , but And this distance “puts it into HD 40307’s habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on a planet’s surface,” meaning this

Scientists made the findings by observing wobbles in the movement of the star, caused by its orbiting planets.

Scientists have discovered two new 'super-Earth' planets which they say are potentially habitable © Catalyst Scientists have discovered two new 'super-Earth' planets which they say are potentially habitable Differences in the sizes of the movements, between 10 and 30 centimetres a second, are caused by planets or moons with environmental conditions similar to Earth.

Dr Fabo Feng, research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire and lead researcher on the study, said: "We're getting tantalisingly close to observing the correct limits required for detecting Earth-like planets.

"Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogues and the understanding of the Earth's habitability through comparison with these."

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A newly discovered exoplanet orbits a minor star in the southern skies within the star's habitable zone, making it a prime candidate for a living exoplanet. View gallery - 3 images. Potentially habitable super - Earth discovered in our stellar neighborhood.

Using data from HARPS-TERRA, the Planet Finder Spectrograph and the UCLES echelle spectrograph, astronomers have discovered a new potentially habitable Super - Earth around the nearby red-dwarf star Gliese 832.

Stars the size of the Sun are the best targets for finding habitable Earth-seized planets.

Tau Ceti is similar to our Sun in both size and brightness, and like our Sun hosts a multi-planet system.

Scientists hope that direct imaging of the two outer planets could show them to be rocky and habitable.

The researchers concede, however, that a massive disc of debris around the star could be bombarding them with asteroids and comets, and therefore reducing their habitability.

"We're slowly learning to tell the difference between wobbles caused by planets and those caused by stellar active surface," said Dr Mikko Tuomi, also from the university.

"This enabled us to verify the existence of the two outer, potentially habitable, planets in the system."

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