The team of astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has photographed images showing that rocky planets not much larger than the earth, are very common in the habitable zones around stars red weak. In fact, the international team in charge of the mission estimates that there must be tens of billions of planets of this type only in the Milky Way, and probably about one hundred in the vicinity of the Solar System.

Grenoble University in France undated handout artist’s impression of a sunset seen from the “super-Earth” planet Gliese 667 Cc.

The discovery has made ??the HARPS spectrograph The poll, taken with the HARPS spectrograph, known as the “planet hunter”, installed in a 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla observatory in Chile also allowed to deduct in vicinity of the solar system at distances less than30 light years, there must be a hundred “super-Earths” with a mass of between one and ten times the planet Earth.

It is the first time directly measured frequency of super-Earths around red dwarfs, which account for 80 percent of the stars in our galaxy , as noted by ESO.

“About 40 percent of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earthorbiting in the habitable zone, an area that allows the existence of liquid water on the surface of the planet,” said the leader of the international team, Xavier Bonfils.

According to the astronomer of the Observatory of Sciences of the Universe in Grenoble (France), because red dwarfs are so common, there are about 160,000 million in the Milky Way, one can conclude that “there are tens of billions of such planets only in our galaxy. ”

During the observations, made ??during a period of six years in the southern sky from a sample of 102 red dwarf stars, the scientists found a total of nine super-Earths.

According to Stéphane Udry of Geneva Observatory, “the habitable zone around a red dwarf, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water on the surface is closer to the star than in the case of the Earth the Sun “. But red dwarfs are known to be subject to eruptions or stellarflares, which would flood the planet X-ray or ultraviolet radiation: it would make more difficult the existence of life, “he said.

A hypothetical planet orbiting a red dwarf star. If it orbits close enough, it may have liquid water, like the Earth.

One of the planets discovered by the HARPS spectrograph is Gliese 667 CC, the closest to our planet, and almost certainly meets the conditions for the presence of liquid water on its surface, according to the European Southern Observatory.


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