It is every astronomers' dream to find an Earth-like with liquid water and perfect conditions for life, as we know it.
This is why the recent discovery is so exciting.
An international group of astronomers have detected a new exoplanet that appears to be very similar to Earth. Could life exist there?
Located about 22 light years away from the Earth, orbiting a red dwarf, the exoplanet called Gliese 667Cc lies in the habitable zone,
which means life could actually exist there.
Red dwarf stars are the most common stars in the neighborhood of the sun. Usually they host planets called gas giants which are not
primarily composed of rock matter.
Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the University Göttingen, Germany, is one of the main astronomers,
who helped to confirm the existence of Gliese 667Cc which is a solid planet with approximately 4.5 times the mass of the Earth.
The scientists have calculated that Gliese 667Cc receives 10 % less light from its red dwarf star than the Earth from the Sun.
Nevertheless most of the light is in the infrared area.
Therefore, the new planet receives nearly the same amount of energy as the Earth.
This means water on the planet could be liquid and the surface temperatures are expected to be similar to those of the Earth.
Artistic impression of an Earth-like planet somewhere in the Universe. Image credit: NASA
Steven Vogt is an astronomer from the University of California, Santa Cruz, whowas involved in the discovery of Gliese 667Cc,
said: "It's the Holy Grail of exo-planet research to find a planet orbiting around a star at the right distance so it´s not too close where
it would lose all its water and not too far where it would freeze. It's right there in the habitable zone - there's no question or discussion about it.
It is not on the edge. It is right in there."
About twenty years ago scientists were still arguing about the existence of planets beyond our solar system.
But the search for extrasolar planets has made giant leaps: in 1995 Michel Mayor and his partner Didier Queloz have published the discovery of the
first extrasolar planet, which orbits around a Sun-like star, called 51 Pegasi b. This discovery was a milestone in astronomical research.
Since then astronomers have confirmed the existence of more than 760 planets beyond our solar system; only four of them are believed to be in a habitable zone.
Astronomers now believe that habitable planets could be much more common in our universe than previously assumed.
That means life as we know it could also be widespread across the Universe.
Possible Water In The Atmosphere Of A Super-Earth
This exoplanet has a mass of 6.5 Earth-masses and a radius of 2.7 Earth-radii, and it orbits a small M-dwarf star (its diameter is only 21% of the Sun's).
They used the Hubble infrared spectrometer to observe the planet as it transited across the face of the star; as it did so,
the planet's atmosphere absorbed light from the star, thus subtly altering the star's intrinsic spectrum as we observe it.
Abnormal Star Discovered In The 'Forbidden Zone'
A team of astrophysicists from Germany, France and Italy have discovered in the constellation Leo is an old star.
The star's existence raised at once many questions for scientists.
The object is definitely not as its "contemporaries" that appeared immediately after the Big Bang event.
Astronomical Mystery - Tremendous Explosion And Appearance Of Odd Rings
Twenty five years ago, on 1987 February 23, the brightest supernova of modern times was observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow.
Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash into previously expelled material...
Giant Jupiter - Our "Would-Be" Friend With Secrets From The Past
It knocked a giant planet into deep space, swallowed up a smaller rival before it could grow any bigger.
Careful observers saw dark spots rapidly changing places and almost a century ago, a luminous protuberance on the eastern edge of Jupiter,
on the equatorial side of the north equatorial belt was reported.
The "Cloaked" Star Was Difficult To Find
An object obscured by dust, and buried in a two-star system enshrouded by dense gas, is not easy to find.
A "cloaked" star was discovered after it ate a little of its neighbor. The meal must have given the star a bit of indigestion, because it
"burped" with a blast of high-energy radiation, which gave it away.
Hot Super-Earth Planets Lurking In Neighboring Solar System
Discovered By Astronomers
As some may recall, just a few months ago astronomers detected a Super-Earth orbiting several suns.
This time, scientists have come across some lurking Super-Earths located not very far from our own solar system.
It has long been believed that there are only seven planets in our neighboring solar system around star HD 10180, but that is wrong.
Astronomers have just made a very significant discovery revealing the existence of two more planets in the system.