Super earth in cosmic neighborhood
Astronomically speaking, the highly interesting celestial body is located right in front of our cosmic door: it is only 22 light-years from Earth, which is equivalent to about 209 billion kilometers. Astronomers place it in the category of the so-called "super-earths"? to. This term refers to distant planets (exoplanets), which are slightly larger than the earth and made of rock. This delimits them from Jupiter-like celestial bodies? gigantic gas giants, which, according to current theory, hardly offer development opportunities for life. In total, planet hunters have spotted more than 750 exoplanets, including some super-Earths. The planet Kepler-22b was previously considered the most promising candidate for living-friendly conditions. But compared to GJ667Cc it is much further away from us: its distance from Earth is 600 light-years.
Researchers around Guillem Anglada-Escudé of the Carnegie Institution in Washington discovered GJ667Cc by analyzing data from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the Magellan II telescope in Chile, as well as the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The planet betrayed itself by the regular tiny humming and tumbling of its parent star, which arises when the gravity of his companion tugs at him. This results in weak light changes (more precisely, periodic shifts in the speckle lines) that provide information about the properties of planets. According to the researchers, GJ667Cc also has neighbors: another super-earth, but too hot for life to develop as it circles the central star too close, and probably another rock planet in an outer orbit, though only offers icy conditions. display
According to analyzes of the wavelengths of light that emanate from the three stars of the GJ667 system, there are few heavy elements in the Earth compared to our solar system, of which the Earth is largely composed. Researchers have previously assumed that these are poor starting conditions for the formation of rocky planets. "Our discovery shows that potentially life-friendly planets can emerge in more diverse environments than previously thought, " says Anglada-Escudé. "With a new generation of measuring instruments, scientists could now systematically study dwarf stars for planets and, in turn, search for spectroscopic signs of life, " adds the astronomer, who now works at the University of Göttingen.Communication from the Carnegie Institution and the University of Göttingen © wissenschaft.de? Martin Vieweg