Exoplanets (planets located outside the Solar System) are discovered every day nowadays, but the vast majority tend to be very weird worlds. For example, some of the most common among them are things that are bigger than Jupiter, yet are closer to their stars than Mercury is to the Sun.
But every now and then we are treated to a more or less Earth-sized rock, which inevitably raises a fair amount of interest. That is the case with the latest discovery, creatively named Gliese 832c (you cannot possibly remember this for longer than an hour). And justifiably so.
To begin with, Gliese 832c is estimated to be five times as big as Earth (or it may be slightly bigger) and is located only a “stone’s throw” from our planet — just 16 light-years. Remarkably, Gliese 832c may have Earth-like temperatures, although with large seasonal shifts.
What makes the discovery particularly interesting is that Gliese 832 lies in its star’s “habitable zone”, which is to say that liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface.
The most notable difference seems to be that the host star is a “red dwarf” — a type of celestial beasts which are dimmer and cooler than our sun. However, Gliese 832c is located much closer to the dwarf than the Earth is to the Sun, so the two planets receive about equal amounts of stellar energy. As the head of the team which made the discovery put it:
This makes Gliese 832 c one of the top three most Earth-like planets and the closest one to Earth of all three, a prime object for follow-up observations.
So it’s a great discovery. (Scroll down for the videos.)
1. An artist’s impression of the potentially habitable Super-Earth Gliese 832c against a stellar nebula background.
2. Called Gliese 832c, the new planet is a ‘super-Earth’ at least five times as massive as our planet.
3. The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog now has 23 objects of interest including Gliese 832c, the closest to Earth of the top three most Earth-like worlds in the catalog.
And here are the videos:
Source: The Daily Mail.
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