Thu Nov 8, 2012, 10:40 PM
LongTomH (5,076 posts)
Newly discovered 'Super-Earth," only 42 light years away may be habitable
This new exo-planet is one of three just discovered in a solar system already known to have three planets, bringing the total to six.
From Space.com: 'Super-Earth' Alien Planet May Be Habitable
The newfound exoplanet, a so-called "super-Earth" called HD 40307g, is located inside its host star's habitable zone, a just-right range of distances where liquid water may exist on a world's surface. And the planet lies a mere 42 light-years away from Earth, meaning that future telescopes might be able to image it directly, researchers said.
"The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life," study co-author Hugh Jones, of the University of Hertfordshire in England, said in a statement. "Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable."
This super-earth could conceivably have liquid water and have evolved life.
10 replies, 1619 views
Newly discovered 'Super-Earth," only 42 light years away may be habitable (Original post)
|wrath of medusa||Nov 2012||#4|
Response to LongTomH (Original post)
Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:03 PM
wrath of medusa (24 posts)
4. By 2015
we should have a decent idea of how common Earth-mass planets are in our galaxy. My guess is that there are a handful of 1Em planets in the habitable zone in the Kepler data.
Response to Confusious (Reply #7)
Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:25 AM
Posteritatis (18,569 posts)
8. It'd actually be a lot less than that
Density and physical size determine surface gravity more than mere mass on those scales. Assuming it's rocky and made of roughly the same stuff as Earth, you'd have a planet with a little under twice the diameter and would be looking at about 1.96 gravities on the surface.
If it was the same diameter as Earth, which it absolutely certainly isn't, then you'd get seven gravities on the surface. If it was half as dense as Earth somehow, the surface gravity would actually be lower than here despite all the extra mass. It can lead to some pretty odd things; Jupiter's over three hundred Earth masses, but its gravity at what people define as its equivalent to "the surface" is only 2.58 g.
Response to Posteritatis (Reply #8)
Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:15 PM
toddmiller (75 posts)
10. So what about the atmosphere?
Gravity wouldn't just effect how well you can walk. It would also influence the density of the atmosphere. Of course, lots of other things could influence the nature of the atmosphere. A lot of variables operating here.