(Image source: Space.com)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


It’s a record that seems to change hands every few months, but astronomers say they’ve found a new planet to claim the title of “most earth-like.”

Its name is HD 40307g, but it’s been dubbed a “super-earth.” As far as we know, it’s not populated by super humans, but it is seven times the size of our own planet. (Video via Space.com)

The super-earth was discovered using the European Southern Observatory’s planet-hunting telescope HARPS, which detects planets by seeing them tug on their star during their orbit.

The new planet orbits the star that was already known to have three planets in orbit. Those planets, though, were too close to be in the habitable zone where liquid water is possible.

By sifting through the old data, researchers were able to pinpoint three new planets — one of them right in that sweet spot. (Via Space.com)

Wired writes:

“This super-Earth receives about two-thirds the amount of sunlight that our planet gets. It’s a bit on the cold side, but still warm enough to have oceans and wet weather like on Earth.”

But the most important feature of the new planet is that it’s likely not tidally locked — which means it rotates, giving it a day and night cycle.

io9 explains:

“While this may not be a prerequisite for life, our example here on Earth shows that [it] may be a crucial ingredient — what prevents one side of the planet from getting constant exposure to the sun.”

The next step is for researchers to use more sensitive telescopes to learn more about the planet. Its discoverers still aren’t sure whether it’s a rocky planet or a small gas planet, but say there’s a good chance it could have the same composition as Earth.

New Earth-Like Planet Could Support Oceans and Life

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Nov 8, 2012

New Earth-Like Planet Could Support Oceans and Life

 

(Image source: Space.com)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


It’s a record that seems to change hands every few months, but astronomers say they’ve found a new planet to claim the title of “most earth-like.”

Its name is HD 40307g, but it’s been dubbed a “super-earth.” As far as we know, it’s not populated by super humans, but it is seven times the size of our own planet. (Video via Space.com)

The super-earth was discovered using the European Southern Observatory’s planet-hunting telescope HARPS, which detects planets by seeing them tug on their star during their orbit.

The new planet orbits the star that was already known to have three planets in orbit. Those planets, though, were too close to be in the habitable zone where liquid water is possible.

By sifting through the old data, researchers were able to pinpoint three new planets — one of them right in that sweet spot. (Via Space.com)

Wired writes:

“This super-Earth receives about two-thirds the amount of sunlight that our planet gets. It’s a bit on the cold side, but still warm enough to have oceans and wet weather like on Earth.”

But the most important feature of the new planet is that it’s likely not tidally locked — which means it rotates, giving it a day and night cycle.

io9 explains:

“While this may not be a prerequisite for life, our example here on Earth shows that [it] may be a crucial ingredient — what prevents one side of the planet from getting constant exposure to the sun.”

The next step is for researchers to use more sensitive telescopes to learn more about the planet. Its discoverers still aren’t sure whether it’s a rocky planet or a small gas planet, but say there’s a good chance it could have the same composition as Earth.

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