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A team of international astronomers made exciting discoveries regarding new worlds. They found 60 new planets orbiting stars that are relatively close to our solar system. Among these, there is a rocky “super Earth” that the astronomers suspect it might be able to sustain life. They also found 54 other potential planets, raising the number of possible new worlds to 114.
One of these planets raised more interest than the others. Gliese 411b was described as a hot super Earth that has a rocky surface. It is located in the fourth nearest star system to our Sun. Gliese 411b is also known as GJ 411b or Lalande 21185. It orbits the star Gliese 411 (GJ 411).
The planet has been labeled as a super Earth any hoped that it might host the conditions that are perfect to sustain life. Unfortunately, Dr. Mikko Tuomi, professor at the Center for Astrophysics from the University of Hertfordshire, revealed that the planet was too hot to sustain life.
The new planet Gliese 411b and its star system are located 8 light years away from Earth. As a comparison, another planet similar to Earth, Proxima b, was discovered orbiting a red dwarf star called Proxima Centauri and they are located 4 light years away from Earth. Red dwarfs are small stars that are relatively cool and life is still not possible on Proxima b.
Tuomi was involved in the finding of Proxima b, too, and deemed all these recent discoveries as extremely important. Also, he declared that they had recently established the fact that there are more planets in the universe than there are stars. This suggests the fact that every star has at least one planet that orbits it.
The astronomers are planning to include the newly discovered planets on observational maps that they can use when they are analyzing the sky and looking for new worlds.
The discoveries are the results of over 20 years of data collected with the Keck-I telescope in Hawaii during the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey. They obtained around 61,000 observations of 1,600 stars. These observations are now public.
The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey was meant to gather astronomy enthusiasts from dozens of organizations and give them a chance to make use of their talents and help in finding new planets and stars.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons