Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Scientists discover two potentially habitable 'super-Earth' planets

Scientists discover two potentially habitable 'super-Earth' planets

But as phys.org explains, smaller stars like Proxima Centauri - the closest star to the sun at only 4.2 light-years away - tend to have habitable zones so close to their surface that any planet orbiting sufficiently close to it will be tidally-locked, meaning that the same side of the planet always faces the star, rendering it an uninhabitable world of temperature extremes.

"We realized that we could see how the star's activity differed at different wavelengths and use that information to separate this activity from signals of planets", said Dr Tuomi, lead researcher back in 2013.

The planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass, making them among the smallest planets ever detected around nearby Sun-like stars, they said.

The planets were detected by observing a regular "wobble" in Tau Ceti's motion. "Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for [Earth-like exoplanets] and the understanding of the Earth's habitability through comparison with these".

If so, that means they're far less likely to be habitable - and there's also the issue of the super Earths hanging uncomfortably close to the outskirts of Tau Ceti's habitable zone - although it's premature to abandon all hope. Tau Ceti, a favorite destination of writers of science fiction, very similar to the Sun in size and brightness.

The four Earth-like planets are the smallest orbiting around tau Ceti.

The scientists used the method of "fluctuations" of the planet, izmerena the influence of gravitational interaction of a star.

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A new study by an global team of astronomers, led by the University of Hertfordshire, reveals that tau Ceti, the nearest Sun-like star (about 12 light years away from the Sun), has four Earth-sized planets orbiting it - two of which could be habitable.

But this isn't tau Ceti's first rodeo, and some of the experts Gizmodo spoke to suggested we shouldn't get too excited about the latest claims that this intriguing star system might be habitable.

But the researchers concede that a massive disc of debris around the star could be bombarding them with asteroids and comets and may reduce their habitability.

An worldwide team of astronomers have confirmed that at least two Earthlike planets - small rocky worlds in the habitable zone around a star where liquid water is possible - orbit the nearby star of Tau Ceti, according to researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Herefordshire in the United Kingdom.

Like the Sun, she has a "life zone" - the narrow area around it, where conditions favorable for life. Numerous other "potentially habitable" exoplanets discovered to date orbit dim red dwarf stars, which, for a variety of reasons, could prove hostile to life.

Two Tau Ceti signals previously identified in 2013 were now known not to have a planetary origin. We now know that it probably hosts a handful of Earth-like planets, including a pair that might be able to support life.

"We are slowly learning to recognize the difference between vibrations caused by planets, and those that are caused by the active star surface".

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