New ‘Super Earth’ detected in habitable zone.
An international team of scientists has discovered a potentially habitable super-Earth orbiting a nearby star. With an orbital period of about 28 days and a minimum mass 4.5 times that of the Earth, the planet orbits within the star’s “habitable zone,” where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface. The researchers found evidence of at least one and possibly two or three additional planets orbiting the star, which is about 22 light years from Earth.
“This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it” says one researcher.
The team found that the system might also contain a gas-giant planet and an additional super-Earth with an orbital period of 75 days. However, further observations are needed to confirm these two possibilities.