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Three Super-Earths Found Orbiting Red Dwarf Gliese 667C

by Brandon Russell | June 25, 2013June 25, 2013 10:00 pm PDT


European astronomers say they’ve confirmed up to three super-Earths orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 667C; the news follows up on a study done by Canadian astronomer Philip Gregory from last year. One super-Earth is noteworthy in and of itself. But three in a specific habitable zone is much more exciting. Imagine vacationing not to a different country, but a nearby planet. See you later, Earth. Gonna check out super-Earth.

The initial findings by Gregory were inconclusive—at least in the way Gregory approached it. But other astronomers decided Gregory’s findings, although shaky at best, were worth exploring in a new way. So the data was examined even further, with the super-Earths existing in the highly dynamic system a foregone conclusion.

Talking about the new data, io9 reached out to Guilem Anglada-Escude, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Goettingen in Germany, to see how the conclusion was made.

“We extracted the signals with two independent data analysis methods,” Anglada-Escude said. “Bayesian analysis with some prior choices—which was very important to the study—and what we call log-likelihood periodograms. Both methods aim to identify the global best fit solution when one planet is added.”

io9 further explains how researchers were able to determine there are super-Earths located in the system , and also provides more in-depth info on Gliese 667C, which is estimated to be around 22 light-years away. While the possibility of ever residing on a super-Earth—a planet where liquid water can exist—are still years and years and years off, it never hurts to charter mankind’s next possible destination.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...