Monday, February 06, 2012

Scientists find new GJ 667Cc

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Researchers at the Carnegie Institute for Science (CIS) are celebrating the discovery of a planet that is in prime position to have liquid water on its surface, and even possibly life. The possibility comes from the fact that the planet sits right in the middle of the habitable zone in relation to its star. Up until now, all the other planets that have been discovered have either been too close or too far from the star they orbit, making them rather inhospitable places to be. Not so with the planet named GJ 667Cc.

The CIS scientists are calling the planet the “Holy Grail” in the search for planets that could support life. Along with its ideal distance from its star, GJ 667Cc takes 28 days to make its orbit. What’s interesting to note is that GJ 667Cc resides in a triple-star system, with two of the stars being distant enough to not affect its climate but still be visible in the sky.

Unfortunately, unless faster-than-light neutrinos become a reality, you and I will not live to see the surface of GJ 667Cc because it sits 22 light-years away from Earth. It resides in the Scorpius constellation, and is relatively close when it comes to the proximity of other heavenly bodies, but a huge distance given the state of our current technology.

The scientific team at CIS is hoping that its study is also an indication that there are a large amount of these kinds of planets in the galaxy. It feels that because GJ 667Cc was found so fast and easily that the odds would indicate that this could be the case. Of course, it could have just been a case of enormous luck!

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