Newfound exoplanets automatically mean new chances to find life elsewhere besides on Earth, at least theoretically. While encountering intelligent aliens is the ultimate goal for most astronomers, they seem to be making steps daily towards that purpose. Two new Super-Earths had been found very close to us, which means that they qualify for having a good chance of harboring life.
The new study reveals that two Super-Earth exoplanets are orbiting a star located only 11 light-years away from our planet. There are also chances that a third exoplanet is in the game, revolving a bit further away from the host star.
Gliese 887 is the host star
Gliese 887 is a red dwarf star that has about half the mass of our sun. Astronomers working on the Red Dots project observed the new star by using the European Southern Observatory from Chile. Furthermore, the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (aka the HARPS spectrograph), detected two planets revolving around Gliese 887.
Sandra Jeffers, who is the lead study author and also a lecturer at the Institute for Astrophysics from the University of Göttingen, declared:
The host star is the best star that is in close proximity to the Sun because it is an unusually quiet star,
By a quiet star, I mean that it doesn’t have the dark starspots or the energetic outbursts [flares] that we see on the Sun.
Astronomers are hoping that in the future they will learn more about Gliese 887 in order to determine if there is indeed a third planet revolving around it. And if the result is positive, the newfound solar system could become one of the most studied systems from the Solar neighborhood. And astronomers should consider to figure out ways of going to one of the Super-Earths in the near future.
This study was published in the journal Science.