Friday, July 12, 2013


Yes, there could be more earths in the whole gigantic universe. But there should not be so intelligent creation like human. Gliese 667C is a very well-studied star. Just over one third of the mass of the Sun, it is part of a triple star system known as Gliese 667 (GJ 667), 22 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).

Scientists have identified a new solar system with three potentially habitable Earth-like planets orbiting a nearby star, just 22 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.
A closer look at the previously-studied star Gliese 667C revealed a treasure trove of planets with three super-Earths in the habitable zone around the star.

An artist's impression of HD 189733b shows it would be a brilliant cobalt blue if seen from a short distance in space.
But although it looks cool astronomers say conditions there are hellish.
Temperatures on the exoplanet - a planet outside the Solar System - are said to be 1,000C.
Winds blow at more than 4,000mph, it rains slivers of silicate glass and the chances of life are extremely remote.
As there are no blue oceans the colour is thought to come from light scattered by the silicate particles in the atmosphere.
Professor Frederic Pont from the University of Exeter, who led the international Hubble Space Telescope team, said: "Measuring its colour is a real first - we can actually imagine what this planet would look like if we were able to look at it directly."
HD 189733b is a gas giant orbiting very close to its parent star, and its colour was calculated by measuring the light reflected from its surface.
This was a major breakthrough for astronomers, who have been able to determine the true colour of an exoplanet orbiting a star beyond the sun for the first time.
Tom Evans from Oxford University, co-author of the findings, said: "We saw the brightness of the whole system drop in the blue part of the spectrum when the planet passed behind its star.
Astronomers combined new observations of Gliese 667C with existing data from HARPS at European Southern Observatory ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope in Chile, to reveal the system.
A record-breaking three of these planets are super-Earths lying in the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life.
This is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.

Astronomers have detected the most Earth-like planet that has the potential to support water yet found by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.
The planet, known as Kepler 62f, is one of five new planets discovered orbiting a star in the constellation of Lyra.

Kepler 62f is likely to be a terrestrial planet about 40 per cent bigger than Earth, orbiting in the star's habitable zone -- the area that allows liquid water to exist, the astronomers report in the journal Science.
"We're very excited because this has a good chance of being a rocky planet and potentially having the right surface temperatures to support liquid water," says Associate Professor Eric Agol, of the University of Washington, one of the paper's authors.
The planet receives about half as much heat and light as Earth and orbits its host star in 267.3 Earth days.
It's one of two 'super-Earths' discovered in the planet system's habitable zone.
A super-Earth is a planet greater in mass than our own, but still smaller than ice giants such as Neptune.
Kepler 62's other super-Earth, nearby 62e, is bigger at 1.61 times Earth's size, orbits the star in just 122.4 days, and gets about 20 per cent more light and heat than Earth.
The two newly discovered worlds are the smallest exoplanets yet found in a habitable zone.
While the sizes of Kepler 62e and 62f are known, their mass and densities are not.
"All the other planets which we found to date for which we can measure the mass have high densities there similar in density to the Earth," says Agol.
"Based on its size, our best guess is that Kepler 62f is rocky and has some atmosphere, but not a thick gaseous envelope, like Neptune."
NASA's Kepler spacecraft, which was launched in 2009 searches for Earth-like planets orbiting 170,000 Sun like stars by staring continuously at a single section of the sky looking for subtle changes in light caused by a planet passing in front of its star.
According to Agol, Kepler 62f was a late discovery.
"I've been working on a new technique for searching for transiting planets in the Kepler data, and figured that I'll try this on the new planet system that they're about to submit for publication," says Agol.
Kepler needs three transits to confirm a planetary candidate, but only had two for Kepler 62f so the planet was initially dismissed as a glitch in the data.
"But my algorithm went along and ignored any such subtleties in the data and managed to identify three produce a planet candidate that hadn't been identified by the Kepler software," says Agol.
The super-Earth's siblings Kepler 62 b, c and d are 1.31, 0.54 and 1.95 times the size of the Earth, respectively, but orbit the star too close to be in the habitable zone.
The host star, Kepler-62 is an orange dwarf, slightly smaller and cooler than the Sun and more than one and a half times older.

Endless oceans

A separate study accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal suggests both Kepler 62e and 62f are water worlds covered by global oceans.
"These planets are unlike anything in our solar system. They have endless oceans," says lead author Dr Lisa Kaltenegger from the Max Planck Institute and the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.
"There may be life there, on these worlds would be under water."
"Kepler-62e probably has a very cloudy sky and is warm and humid all the way to the polar regions. Kepler-62f would be cooler, but still potentially life-friendly," says Harvard astronomer and co-author Professor Dimitar Sasselov.

Next generation explorers

The findings are a continuation of the many exciting results coming out from NASA's Kepler satellite, says astronomer Dr Chris Tinney from the University of New South Wales.
"They've been finding planets that are increasingly more and more like the ones that are in our own solar system," says Tinney.
But, he says, there is a limit to what Kepler can detect.
"The Kepler experiment is great, but the stars that it sees are fairly faint."
Tinney says a new generation planet hunting spacecraft called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or TESS just approved by NASA will build on Kepler's achievements.
"Kepler...stares at one field continuously, where as the TESS experiment will look at many more stars...much brighter ones."
This will allow detailed follow up work to be carried out on newly discovered systems, according to Tinney.
"This will be possible with TESS, where it's very difficult to impossible with Kepler," he says.

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