Scientists Find A 'Super-Earth' Among 60 New Neighbouring Planets

Tomas Mccoy
February 16, 2017

The team had 61000 observations of 1600 stars.

A team of researchers, including Dr Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, have discovered 60 new planets orbiting stars near the Earth's solar system, as well as evidence that there could be as many as 54 more on top of that. Researchers say one of the exoplanets, known as Gliese 411-b, is a hot "super Earth".

These discoveries turn conventional wisdom about planets on its head. This could mean nearly 120 new planets! That, in turn, may affect astronomers' understanding of how these systems are created. "This means that virtually every star has a planet, or several of them, orbiting it", he explained, via email. "This is something astronomers were not convinced about, even as little as five years ago", said Dr. Tuomi, lead author of a paper.

The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey began in 1996 by astronomers Steve Vogt and Geoffrey Marcy from the University of California and Paul Butler, from the Carnegie Institute of Science, in Washington. These new discoveries will further help us characterise the population of planets in the immediate Solar neighbourhood'.

These new discoveries have happened thanks to the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, an initiative to make years of observations publicly available.

Using this information the scientists were able to track tiny colour changes in stars, which revealed the existence of planets.

Gliese 411 and Gliese 411b are located eight light years from earth.

Among the findings, astronomers located Gliese 411b, which is believed to be a hot super-Earth-like planet in the fourth closest star system to the Sun. The researchers, after studying the subject for more than 30 years have now published the results and shared them with the exo-planet community in order to strengthen the search for exo-planets. "This is like mapping an archipelago so that we are familiar with it in the future when taking a closer look at what its islands actually look like". So, it is normal to expect Earth-like conditions supporting alien life might be present.

The discovery was made by an global team of researchers, led by the University of Hertfordshire.

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