Archive for the ‘Astrobiology’ Category

Happy Easter from Europa :)   13 comments

 

 

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New evidence from NASA indicates that the most likely places to find life beyond Earth are Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus. They, like Earth, are both ocean worlds and in both therein are some of the key ingredients for life.

A wealth of hydrogen molecules in water plumes soaring from the ruptures in Enceladus’s icy surface, have been detected by the Cassini spacecraft. The vital chemical methane, could also be establishing itself in the ocean beneath the ice.

The elusive presence of a water plume erupting on the warmest part of Europa’s icy surface, which has a salty liquid ocean beneath it was shown by the Hubble Space Telescope. The ocean itself contains double the amount of water found in the oceans of Earth.

 

europ_wolf (2) copy1B

Europa could be the pick of the bunch for life-bearing within our own solar system outside of our homeworld. will launch In the 2020’s the Europa Clipper will be launched, and should arrive at Europa a few years later. It will be the first to explore an alien ocean and will also fly through the plume to collect data.

It will definitely be a first to discover Intergalactic Liver Cake – staple diet of Icewolves, and indeed most domestic canines Earth! The structure of the Liver Cake may differ slightly from much-loved Earthly treat, but the Europan version is just as mouthwatering and tasty to both lupine and canine alike 🙂 And what better time than Easter, the time of ressurection and new life, to discover tantsalising new life hopes on worlds not so very far from home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icewolf of course, did not go hunting any down without telling Clowie, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog…she would never dream of such indiscretion 😉 …. Never!

Image: Europa’s Icewolf 2017_ Europa’s Icewolf: Jupiter, seen from Europa.

 

Proxima B – Life in the Habitable Zone?   26 comments

Historic Potentially Earth-Like World Proxima B

The historic discovery of potentially Earth- like world Proxima-b was announced 24 August 2016. Orbiting Proxima Centauri, a Red Dwarf star in the habitable zone and the nearest star to our own Sun Proxima-b marks not only the closest alien planet ever found but also with the potential to be habitable.

Proxima b

This artist’s impression shows what the sky might look like on Proxima Centauri b if the planet has a surface. The exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, currently the closest star to the solar system at 4.2 light-years. The other two members of the Alpha Centauri triple, Alpha Centauri A and B, would appear in the sky, too.
ESO / M. Kornmesser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this proves to be the case, then there is no shortage of time for some form of life to originate based on the fact that red dwarf stars such as Proxima Centauri burn for trillions of years.

From the point of view of the average Earth-based visitor stopping by for a summer vacation, Proxima-b runs the risk of being a rather boring holiday resort. The sun-tan would be awesome, not so much so the destruction of the biological cells exposed to the intensely dodgy UV radiation that is present. Combined with the prospect of heavy duty sun-screen to protect from the sun’s constant bombardment of energy flares bouncing around the planetary surface probably wouldn’t be classed as entirely awesome either. On top of which the Proxima Centauri flares would also banish any hope of using mobile phones, tablets, X-boxes or any other such devices thanks to its electronics-disabling qualities. so no ET calling home and definitely no Skype!

Proxima b _Bustle DarkBAlthough it is a tidally locked planet– roasting hot on its star- facing side, freezing cold on the other, there is also enough wind around in the atmosphere to circulate the heat, balancing out the extreme temperatures that would otherwise exist. None-the-less a visit to the the planetary darkside, where it is bathed in perpetual night could prove to be the safest, and possibly the only option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately astronomers are choosing to be particularly pessimistic about this little world following the initial euphoria and have currently decided it is probably a dead, airless rock that will never harbour life due to it’s close proximity sun (20x nearer than Earth to the Sun) creating a risk of it boiling off the water and thereby stripping away the planet’s atmosphere. Researchers its oxygen will be gone in about 10 million years. Life on Earth took billions of years to develop.

Young M Dwarf StarsYoung M dwarf stars can unleash dangerous flares, (“planet-frying radiation”) that strip off atmosphere-forming oxygen spelling doom for closely orbiting planets. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / S. Wiessinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

proxima bImage: NASA Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab

However hope lives eternal. Theoretically it is possible life could advance to endure the high levels of radiation, by altering the worst of Proxima Centauri’s emissions into inoffensive visible light. We know this is plausible, because due to a process known as biofluorescence this —has already happened on many occasions on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately It is expected that the 2018 launch of The James Webb Space Telescope, will provide answers to the critical question of whether there is any chance at all that Proxima b is capable of supporting life.

Proxima b – Habitable ‘Ocean Planet’??

Another possibility is the Proxima b could be an ocean world whose entire surface consists of a liquid ocean. This may bear a similarity to the Jupiter and Saturn moons that are icy worlds with subsurface oceans.

On the other hand the more optimistic researchers suggest that Proxima b may in fact be habitable after all. So don’t put the suitcases back in the attic just yet intrepid cosmic holiday makers! If Proxima b had in reality formed further out from it’s sun than its current position this would also offer a high possibility of there being water. This idea is based on the outer realms of planetary systems being more likely to form ice. If it then moved inwards for a up closer and more personal relationship with its sun then this ice could melt and form seas. Maybe 😉

Sea

Proxima b – A Desert World??

be8a53dc8479400431b0270a3d2ef730But it still seems most likely, according to Victoria Meadows (University of Washington), that this exoplanet is a desert world since the radiation bombarding it would almost certainly have evaporated the majority of the water. This process could have collected the oxygen and hydrogen in the water and created an atmosphere rich in oxygen. Then again it could a 2nd Venus with an atmosphere rich in Carbon Dioxide, or even another Uranus or Neptune.

The Other Closest Habitable-Zone Worlds

If all else fails cosmic holiday makers may wish to try some of the nearbyProxima Wolf 3, potentially habitable exoplanet worlds, for size….: Kapteyn b (13 light-years away) and Wolf 1061 c (14 light-years). Both planets are just over half again as wide as Earth, with minimum masses of 4 to 5 Earths, and both are in their stars’ habitable zones. Wolf 1061 c does not look at all hopeful in terms of habitability. But Kapteyn b looks good. It’s about 3½ times farther from its sun than Proxima b is from its sun so potentially it could be far enough out of reach of its sun’s rather violent output to provide a half decent holiday resort!

 

References:

www.skyandtelescope.com

www.gizmodo.com

www.space.com

www.scinews.com

www.csmonitor.com

Another Earth? Exoplanet Kelper-452b   32 comments

What Would it Be Like to Live on Earth’s Cousin?

The discovery of Kelper 452b was announced on 23/05/15, and is 1,400 Light years away.

 

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Photo Credit: Kelper 452-b JPL/NASA

An alien experience!

Exoplanet Kelper 452-b is 60% wider than Earth and approximately 5x as massive so much stronger surface gravity.

This provides for a great workout! For the manly among us this essentially means it will make you much stronger 🙂

For everybody chilling on this Earth cousin, the higher gravity would probably lead to significant body changes long term – e.g. becoming stockier built. This is probably not a plus if you’re already on the stocky side…you may become very short and squat…like a rotund garden gnome 😉

 

A Familiar Experience

As this world’s sun is roughly the same distance away as on Earth, the light factor would be much the same as on our home-world and Earth plants transported to its cousin-world could photosynthesis the same as on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

So Kelper 452-b is similar to Earth but not the same. Its sun is 6 billion years old whereas our Sun is only 4.5 billion years old. Kelper 452-b’s sun is at a far more energetic life-stage therefore it is hotter. And it is about 10% larger and 20% brighter in the sky. Not bad for the sun tan then 😉

Kelper 452-b completes one orbit every 385 days so it’s year is only about 20 days longer than Earth’s. Pretty much home from home.

 

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Photo Credit: Kelper 452-b JPL/NASA

 

“…substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”

(Jon Jenkins, Kelper data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in Moffat Field, California. (Led team that discovered Kelper 452-b)  )

 

 

 

 

Martian Gemstones   25 comments

The Gemstones of Mars

Precious gems are not exactly what you would expect to find on Mars. The “Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars,” CRISM, for short, is a nifty device that has already found indications of water on Mars; a pretty cool move in itself, using a technique known by the fancy title of “reflectance spectroscopy” which allows it to "see" minerals on the Martian surface.

Not satisfied with just being a smart Imaging Spectrometer it goes one step further and on occasion becomes super-smart and really shows off detecting gemstone. The pretty picture below is a Martian crater’s central peak, the vari-coloured area representing minerals, whilst the pretty pink areas represent concentrated hydrated silica better what is known on Earth as Opal.

CRISM Finds Opal in a Martian Crater_Image Credit: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

CRISM Finds Opal in a Martian Crater:  NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

Opal is a really cool discovery. One reason is that opal often has high water content. And on Earth opals often contain preserved fossils and other signs of biology consequently it could potentially preserve the history of life on Mars. Martian Opal is also more valuable than the most precious diamond shining brightly in the sol light of Earth. Collect a handful and you could be an incredibly rich Earth dweller!

Opal is the birthstone for October, so what better place to go for your birthday treat than Opal hunting on Mars? Who knows how many of these precious and beautiful gemstones are lying in wait for you birthday babes in the Craters of Mars just waiting for you budding October opal babes to flash your geologists hammer to expose these glimmering gemstone treasures in the shimmering Martian sun.

Read more about CRISM on a new web site dedicated to the instrument and its discoveries on Mars.

Silence In The Shadows (3)   89 comments

 

Silence in the Shadows ~ 3

Where are you going??!!”  She eyed him appraisingly apparently unfazed. “You’re going back to the zone??”  He glared at her as if she had grown two heads. “And how exactly do you expect to get past the check points?!”

“They’ll never know…” she smiled secretively, confident…and in a shimmer of moulton fire she became before his eyes something else… He started, muttering a string of expletives. A glowing black-gold star wolf stood before him in her place, tail wagging gently, head lowered, watching him. When she spoke again it was silently, in his mind – telepathy. “The wolf is more tolerant of the radiation. …if the levels increase and the risks become too great I’ll turn back…” (Silence in the Shadows ~ 2)

Copyright: Europa’s Icewolf 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved.

Night on an alien world

Exclusion zone_beyond the checkpoints

Liquid night moved fluidly in its telepathic touch reaching out with the diversity of a thousand worlds – worlds that lay far beyond the stars – probing, touching in a subtle quest for the tundra of secrets beneath the carefully layered protection of dark and light, blending in the alien moon touch.

Dark shadows raced across the darkened tundra of the exclusion zone plains skating across a rock strewn terrain.

Twin satellites – huge and radiant, hung silently in the star scope beyond; their shivering iridescence dancing and playing in an alien night, casting slivers of satellite suns chasing ghost-like across a cratered planetscape.

Night on an alien world

 

Sirian she-wolfBathed in an otherworldly glow_N-reactor plant structure

Shimmering in the diamond-kissed emissions of the zone’s twin satellites, and bathed in an other-worldly glow, the devastated N-reactor plant structure stood sentinel to the visiting Sirian she-wolf flitting wraith-like amongst the toxic, stellar structures, elongated shadows sliding smoothly into the soundless tranquillity of the void.

Howling_in_the_Land_of_Wolves-The Deadlands

 

Yelena was alone other than the ever present zone wolves flickering in and out of eerie rock formations beyond the irradiated deadlands. Alone, whilst the light of a thousand worlds burned down in remote, icy indifference-brilliant and piercing in a cool, exotic night. And a glittering myriad of new constellations teased an unearthly light into pirouetting effortlessly across an unfamiliar planetscape.

 

The radiation count was high here. Yelena could taste it in the air, her coat and skin prickly with its unseen presence, strands of alien wolf hair crackling in the radioactivity, darkening to smoke black in the monochromatic light of the zone’s twin satellites, the collar-mounted Geiger counter chirping frantically.

Barren beauty_remote and foresakenMystical shrouded structures rose up like vaguely menacing spectres in the dark regions of the starry arrays that were her world. She was beautiful. Yet it was a barren beauty, remote and forsaken in this unnatural radio-active Land of Wolves.

Night in an alien exclusion zone.

Ears flicking, nose raised to catch the untold scents of the mysteries of the zone, Yelena strained to hear above and beyond the absolute silence infusing the shivering planetscape, timeless and disturbingly bereft of all sound other than the empty stirring of the wind. The beating heart of eternity cool and changeless and the ominous chitter of the Geiger counter, a constant reminder that all was far from well in this contaminated land.

Nuclear_Contaminated land

Night shone down on the foreboding sentinel of the toxic reactor skeletising the gaunt structures and embracing the cool, concrete bases. Sudden spectral light slid uneasily through the exposed reactor cores throwing sinister and outlandish shadows chasing across insubstantial stadia into the critically contaminated lands that lay beyond.

             Zone Wolves_N-ReactorsContaminated Lands

Caught in dazzling primeval shards restless Zone Wolves glimmered in sudden cloud-cleared lunar arrays, setting alight the frothy, and platinum-frost coat-overlay characteristic of the packs of radio-active N-wolves that roamed wary and shadowlike within the hostile environs of the exclusion zone.

Hunting in the Land of Wolves.

Yelena watched silently

 

Yelena watched silently shielded by the haunting sentinels and alien crags, rock faces, dusted with layers of dark and radio-active regolith. The aloof glitter of distant stars abnormally bright in the clear skies. Eclipsing pools of lunar light sinking without a sound into the mystery of veiled, astrophysical musings, catching briefly, the remote, rippling beams in fluid star black eyes. Dark shadows played across her eyes fire sparking across her fine boned muzzle in layers of dark chocolate and golden sunsets.

Night in an alien exclusion zone.

 

A wretched undulating wind eddied amongst the structures echoing inconsolably with tales of another time and place. It lifted Yelena’s soft black-ash fur touching her mind and spirit with the mournful sound of its desolate keening, till she too flung back dark, silken head and howled. A chilling, sound that evoked the devastating sense of loss and anguish of those abandoned or who had chosen to linger a little too long – lost to the Land of Wolves. Discharging the tortured suffering of the land, the catastrophic heartbreak and the numbing despair; its contamination and its abandonment and the dying ghost towns left in its wake; the tragic, soul-destroying song of the stars as the dark, stricken she-wolf called her grief to the interstellar void. A distant, unfeeling void…

Howling in the Land of Wolves

Howling in the land of Wolves.

His passage was confident… deliberate… His advance a single, measured move calculated to block any further headway -The exclusion zone Alpha Male, polished starlight glinting off his radio-active form. Powerful and not of her world, claiming not only leadership of the pack but demanding also mating rights to the visiting alien she-wolf. Defiant She-wolf! … Yelena bared glistening teeth at him both in stark momentary warning and also quick sun-flamed invitation as she sought comfort in the zone wolves Alpha under the light of another star…..

       Exclusion zone AlphaBlending in the alien moon touch

She-wolf! Night Caller!

Liquid night moved fluidly in its telepathic touch reaching out with the diversity of a thousand worlds – worlds that lay far beyond the stars – probing, touching in a subtle quest for the tundra of secrets beneath the carefully layered protection of dark and light, blending in the alien moon touch.

 

Night in an alien exclusion zone

Copyright: Europa’s Icewolf 2013 ~ All Rights Reserved.

Alien Sunsets   33 comments

Watching the sunset on another world 150 light years from Earth….

What would it look like?

Osiris

HD 209458 b (Osiris) is a large exoplanet or extrasolar planet that orbits the Sun-like star HD 209458 in the constellation Pegasus, some 150 light-years from Earth’s solar system. First discovered on November 5, 1999 during “Spectroscopic studies.”

Osiris_HD 209458bOsiris

Osiris is a 7th magnitude world, visible from Earth with good binoculars or a decent telescope. Osiris (HD209458b), 150 Ly from Earth orbits very closely to its sun. Measured by the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope on March 23. 2005 it had an atmospheric temperature of around 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) it’s year lasts just 3.5 Earth days long. Very bad for the aging process!

Osiris Firsts:

First PrizeHD 209458 b was the first transiting extrasolar planet discovered:

  • Known to have an atmosphere
  • Observed to have an evaporating hydrogen atmosphere
  • Found to have an atmosphere containing oxygen and carbon
  • One of the first two extrasolar planets to be directly spectroscopically observed
  • The first extrasolar planet found to have water vapour in its atmosphere. (April 2007)

(Sunset On HD 189733 – Osiris)

Sunset on HD209458b (reconstructed from the HST/STIS transmission spectrum): Image: Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter: based on data form a camera on-board the Hubble Space Telescope)

Osiris doesn’t actually have as surface on which to sit peacefully watching an alien sunset but for the purposes of this post we will pretend it does. What it does have however is an atmosphere, which when passed through by the light from its star (sun) – it does this every so often when Osiris passes between Earth and its own sun (transits)– allows the scientific types here on sunny Earth to figure out in a scientific way mostly beyond the understanding of the average Earthling, exactly which colours its sun would set in, should Osiris have a surface – as already stated it doesn’t but… and we were spending a happily romantic evening sitting on the (make-believe) surface.

I said it HASN’T got one!!! So don’t try it!! It won’t be any good for you!!

In the image to the right Osiris’s sunset can be seen as it would appear if having travelled at light speed to reach it, you were floating 6,200 miles/10,000 km above the planetary surface – preferably not in a deckchair unless you’re wearing a heavy duty space suit 😉 a space station would do nicely.

Floating 6,200 miles above the planetary surface...The Osirisian sun- HD 209458– it’s star, is, much like Earth’s Sun, white – yes I know…The Sun is yellow…but if there was no atmosphere it would look white – not that we would see it because without an atmosphere life on Earth would have survived for approx. 20 seconds before exploding into instant extinction.

An alien sunset on Osiris really does look alien – unlike Earth’s. Osiris’s atmosphere consists of sodium which when starlight (sunlight) zips through it, absorbs the red light. (think prisms and colours of rainbows when white light is split) This results in the remaining starlight appearing blue. It makes perfectly good sense if you were paying attention in your school science lessons. If you weren’t then it’s your own fault and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!!

As back home on Earth the blue light from the star is scattered (“Rayleigh scattering,” a mechanism also responsible for the Earth’s sky being blue) creating a progressive change through the blue end of the spectrum through to a pretty green and later a deep, dark shade of green as its star dips further beneath the horizon.

The more sensible approach to watching the Osirian sunset...In such colours you should be able to get a good view of Osiris’s sun without going instantly blind in which case you will notice it looks oddly flat around the southern half. The same effect occurs when we watch the sun setting from Earth. This is the consequence of diffraction (light bending) and nothing to worry about..

Osiris, Eygptian god of the Underworld_Credit Jeff DahlWhilst you are relaxing in the Osirisian sunset you can reflect on the little snippet of mythology attached to it’s title… Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. His green skin is symbolic of new birth. This image is based on New Kingdom tomb paintings.

    

      AND FOR COMPARISION PURPOSES, THE SUNSET ON HD 189733 b

    Sunset on HD 189733 bSunset on HD 189733 b looks like an especially awesome Earth sunset when the sky is very clear and there is only a small amount of dust in the atmosphere. HD 189733 b is much closer to its star (sun) than Earth is to our Sun so its star looks considerably bigger 25 times larger than Earth’s sun when viewed at sunset compared.

Soaking up the atmosphere on HD 189733b

HD 189733 b’s sun is orange and nowhere near as hot as Earth’s Sun and consequently is coloured orange as oppose to the white of our Sun. Instead of undergoing a gradual change of colour as it sets, this alien sun transforms straight from its original orange colour to deepest red in the thick layers of the lower atmosphere.

Jupiter and HD 189733 b size comparison

HD 189733b discovered in 2005 is an extrasolar planet of similar size to Jupiter. It orbits a star (it’s sun) in a binary system called HD 189733 in the constellation of Vulpecula in two Earth days. The aging process on this world would be terribly fast in our terms and those wrinkles would appear in a frighteningly super-smart short time!! The star system itself one of the closest planet-star systems known making it extremely hot. It is located near the Dumbell Nebula, approximately 62 light years from Earth and is known as a “Hot Jupiter.”

HD 189733 and M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. Credit: Daniel Jaroschik

HD 189733b shares many similar characteristics as HD 209458b (a.k.a. “Osiris) Although HD 189733b’s atmosphere isn’t thought to be evaporating like Osiris’, atmospheric gases extend far beyond it and out into space. This is significant in that starlight can also pass through meaning that scientists have been able to figure out that the atmosphere contains water and methane resulting in the probability that HD 189733b may have a blue hue, reminiscent of Uranus.

The atmosphere also contains iron, silicate and aluminium oxide particles. These would seem to collect in HD 189733b’s upper atmosphere, forming a thin, hazy, reflective cloud in the exosphere. This leads to the natural conclusion that the weather on HD 189733b is hot and cloudy.

Thanks to the Spitzer telescope it was discovered in February 2007 for the first time that the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 209458b (Osiris) is relatively dry, thick and dusty. Osiris even contains grains of sand (silicates).

Exoplanet

Although it is not suitable for the existence of alien life it is an exciting step on the road to discovery of such worlds.

Sources:

PhysOrg.com

Prof. Frédéric Pont

ExoClimes.com

Kelper Mission Discovers Twin Earth! (Updated 28th April 2012)   31 comments

 

Gliese 667C – Kelper Mission Discovers Twin Earth!

Billions of potentially habitable alien planets in the Milky Way Smile

Double sunset from Gliese 667C

(Alien Landscape: Artists impression of sunset scene from the Super Earth orbiting the star Gliese 667C (GJ 667C) which is part of the triple star system. The two more distant stars Gliese 667A and Gliese 667B appear in the sky to the right of the image. Astronomers estimate there of tens of billions of small, rocky habitable worlds, in the Milky Way orbiting faint red dwarf stars within their ‘habitable zones,’ where surface water could support life, and dozens within 30 Light Years of Earth. Image Credit: L.Calgada/ESO)

“This was expected to be a rather unlikely star to host planets. Yet there they are very nearby, metal-poor examples of the most common type of star in our galaxy. The detection of this planet and so nearby, and this soon implies that our galaxy must be teeming with billions of potentially habitable rocky planets.” ~ Steven Vogt

Super-Earth Gliese 667C (GJ 667C)

GJ 667C is an M class red dwarf star in a triple star system. The alien ‘super-Earth’ is situated about 22 Light Years away where it is orbiting it’s red dwarf host star in a period of 28 days, and is about 4.5 times larger than Earth. It is temperate enough to allow liquid water to exist on its surface. It is accompanied by orange K class dwarf stars GJ 667A and B.

clip_image004

GJ 667C receives 90% of light received by Earth, most of which is infra-red, so a higher percentage of incoming energy is absorbed by the planet.

Well worth checking out! Though given the distance it is not likely to be in our lifetime, unless warp speed becomes a reality anytime soon!

“This planet is the best candidate to support liquid water and perhaps life as we know it…”

~ Guillem Anglada-Escude

Artists impression of Super-Earth

About 80% of the Milky Way (160 billion) stars are red dwarfs so it is likely that there are around 65 billion stars with habitable Super Earth’s in our galaxy. About 100 lie within 10 parsecs (32.6 Light Years) of Earth.

“Because red dwarfs are so common – there are about 160 million of them in the Milky Way – this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone.”~ Dr Xavier Bonfils from Grenoble University in France, who led the international team.

Star spectral classes comparison

THE STUDY – Between February 2008 and April 2009 researchers at the European Southern Observatory, La Sill Observatory in Chile, studied 102 Class M (Red Dwarf) stars situated at a distance of less than 32.6 Light Years away. New planets, new life?New planets are discovered by detecting the subtle wobbles that occur when the planets are orbiting their star. 41% of them are orbiting their stars inside the habitable zone, where they could potentially support life.

GJ 667C was discovered by Astronomers from UC Santa Cruz, Steven Vogt and Eugenio Rivera, led by Guillem Anglada-Escude and Paul Butler of Carniegie Institution for Science.

The HARPS high-precision ‘Planet Hunter’ device works with the 3.6m telescope at the Silla Observatory in Chile to bring us these results.

When the information obtained via a telescope was input into the instruments nine super-Earth planets were detected by astronomers. These included Gliese (GJ) 581 and Gliese(GJ) 667C both of which are within the habitable zones of their stars.

clip_image012However, it should also be remembered that Red dwarf stars are not as super-hot as our star – The Sun. Consequently the super-Earth planets that orbit them must Flares from alien sundo so at a considerably closer range in order to obtain the necessary heat. With their habitable zones in such close proximity to their stars compared to the distance of Earth to the Sun there is a danger that the potential for life could be inhibited by the dangerous X-ray and ultraviolet flares emitted by their stars, which could successfully frazzle any life!

NEWS UPDATE: REPORTS CONFIRM EXISTENCE OF HABITABLE EXO-PLANET! (28TH APRIL 2012)

After re-evaluating information collected back in February, scientists reportedly confirmed on Friday that they had indeed discovered a planet outside of our solar system that is capable of supporting life.

On Friday, the Telegraph published a report confirming the findings.

“Re-analyzing data from the European Southern Observatory, the astronomers found Gliese 667Cc is a solid planet with roughly four and a half times the mass of Earth,” they said, adding that astronomers from the University of Göttingen and the University of California “have calculated the planet receives ten per cent less light from its red dwarf star than the Earth gets from the Sun.”

“It’s the Holy Grail of exo-planet research to find a planet orbiting around a star at the right distance so it’s not too close where it would lose all its water and not too far where it would freeze,” University of California astronomer Steven Vogt said, according to the UK publication. “It’s right there in the habitable zone — there’s no question or discussion about it. It is not on the edge. It is right in there.”

(Source: redOrbit)