Tag Archives: extrasolar solar systems

Another superEarth has been found orbiting a star in the habitable zone.

Another superEarth has been found orbiting a star in the habitable zone.

An M-class dwarf star called GJ 667C, which is 22 light-years away from Earth, had previously been observed to have a super-Earth (called GJ 667Cb) that orbited the star in only 7.2 days, making it too close to the star, and thus too hot, to support life.

The study started with the aim of learning more about the orbit of GJ 667Cb. But the research team found a clear signal of a new planet (GJ 667Cc) with an orbital period of 28.15 days and a minimum mass of 4.5 times that of Earth.

Though the planet is much closer to its star than the Earth, the star itself is much smaller and dimmer, so overall the planet gets about the same amount of energy as the Earth.

The Kepler team today announced the discovery of eleven new solar systems holding twenty-six planets.

Planets galore! The Kepler team today announced the discovery of eleven new solar systems holding twenty-six planets.

The planets orbit close to their host stars and range in size from 1.5 times the radius of Earth to larger than Jupiter. Fifteen of them are between Earth and Neptune in size, and further observations will be required to determine which are rocky like Earth and which have thick gaseous atmospheres like Neptune. The planets orbit their host star once every six to 143 days. All are closer to their host star than Venus is to our sun.

No Earths in the habitable zone quite yet, but we are circling in on our prey.