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Habitable Planets

Newly Discovered Planetary System has Three Planets in Habitable Zone

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A team of astronomers have discovered that three planets within a planetary system discovered by the ESO’s 3.6 metre telescope in Chile lie in the habitable zone around the star Gliese 667C , holding possibilities that they may have the presence of life.  It is the first system found with a fully packed habitable zone.

Gliese 667C lies 22 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius and is just over one third of the mass of the Sun.  Prior studies had revealed that the star had three planets orbiting it, but this latest study uncovered three more.

"We knew that the star had three planets from previous studies, so we wanted to see whether there were any more," said Mikko Tuomi, one of the researchers from the University of Hertfordshire, UK. "By adding some new observations and revisiting existing data we were able to confirm these three and confidently reveal several more. Finding three low-mass planets in the star's habitable zone is very exciting!"

The implication of this finding is that if several potentially habitable planets can be found around each low-mass star, there may be far more possibilities for discovering life out in the universe than previously realised.

By April Holloway

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