New planet in habitable zone found, could harbor life!

Artists Rendition of Exoplanet

Artists Rendition of Exoplanet

New planet best example yet of planet in habitable zone.

An International research team analyzed data from the European Southern Observatory about a star known as GJ 667C. The researchers have found a Super-Earth which is the best candidate that could be capable of supporting life that we have found a yet. This planet is in the habitable zone, a very narrow region where the temperature is not too hot or too cold. This is a small area around stars in which conditions to support life are present due to temperatures for water liquid exist.

“This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it,” said Guillem Anglada-Escud who was with the Carnegie Institution for Science when he conducted the research but is now with the University of Gottingen in Germany. Recently Kepler Announced 11 Planetary Systems Hosting 26 Planets and also more the first Earth sized planets.

The planet’s is in the constellation Scorpius. The planet takes roughly 28 days to make one lap, or orbit,  around it’s host start. Its year is 28 Earth days long. The planet is also located 22 only light years away from earth. That might seem like a long way away but it is relatively close almost like a neighbor. There are only about 100 stars this close to earth which makes this find even more exciting. The new planet is at least for a 4.5 times the mass of earth. That is why it is called a “Super-Earth”.

The star is an M-class dwarf start that is about one third the mass of our own sun. This star can be seen from ground-based based telescopes. The discovery of the planet was a surprise to astronomers, because the star system has a very different chemical makeup than our own. This system has low amount of heavy elements, such as carbon, iron, and silicon. Scientists did not think a star like this one could harbor planets. Generally M-class stars are thought to be too dim and tend to have to much solar flare activity, which could send off lethal radiation to nearby planets.

“This was expected to be a rather unlikely star to host planets. Yet there they are, around a very nearby, metal-poor example of the most common type of star in our galaxy,” stated Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics from University of California Santa Cruz. “The detection of this planet, this nearby and this soon, implies that our galaxy must be teeming with billions of potentially habitable rocky planets.”

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