Amateur Astronomers Find Huge Planet that Could Sustain Life

Finding a planet within the Goldilocks Zone is the main hint that there could be life dwelling on that cosmic object. Aliens could exist in forms never imagined before, and they could even be totally undetectable by any of our gadgets and senses. Aliens could be living right next to us – your annoying neighbor could be an alien, or even YOU!

A new exoplanet was found by amateur astronomers orbiting Gliese 3470, a red dwarf star that is located in the constellation Cancer. The group of astronomers is called the Habitable Exoplanet Hunting Project (HEHP) and describes itself as “the first international program coordinated by amateur astronomers to search for habitable exoplanets.” The group is also described to include “more than 30 amateur and professional observatories located in more than 10 countries across 5 continents”.  

Gliese 3470c is its name

Gliese 3470c is the newfound planet, and it’s comparable with Saturn due to its size. Most of the data was gathered by the amateur astronomer Phillip Scott from Kiowa, Oklahoma. The observations were made using just a 12.5 inch telescope that Scott built in his backyard.

The data collected was analyzed using the transit photometry technique, which focuses on changes within a star’s brightness. The team of astronomers observed three transits occurring for the planet, and the estimated orbital period is of 66 days.

However, the planet still needs further confirmation, as an official statement concludes:

If confirmed, Gliese 3470c would be the first exoplanet totally discovered by amateur astronomers,

Our candidate for Gliese 3470c still has to be confirmed by other professional observatories, but the diversity of potential transits we found suggests a high likelihood of existing more exoplanets in the system apart from Gliese 3470b,

As we’re waiting for the confirmation, we can also hope that more advanced telescopes will be able to take a closer look for what dwells on Gliese 3470c.

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