November 13, 2012By Jason Kinner of Paintsville Jr Sr High School
Astronomers have candidates for a potentially habitable planets, and it's not too far away. Is it possible that there is more life out there than what we know?
Planets like this are known as exoplanets. Astronomers have been looking for new exoplanets for a long time now. They have had potential habitable planets before but this is their newest discoveries. These 3 new planets all revolve around the star HD 40307, and all of them are in the “habitable zone”, which means liquid water is able to exist on these planets. One of these planets, named the “super-earth”, is 7 times our planet's mass.
HD 40307, along with the discoveries of the 3 planets, are 42 light years away. HD 40307 is not exactly Sun-like. It is smaller and cooler than our sun and it emits orange light instead of white.
These finds join a group of over 800 known exoplanets. It's only a matter of time before astronomers find an “Earth 2.0” - a rocky planet with an atmosphere circling a Sun-like star in the habitable zone.
By: Zach Baldwin and Gabe Burchell