Scientists Discover Earth-Like Planet 22 Light Years Away

Some 22 light years away from Earth lies planet GJ667Cc, a super-Earth like planet 4.5 times the mass of Earth orbiting within a star’s “habitable zone,” where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface.

The newest find is courtesy of astronomers Steven Vogt and Eugenio Rivera from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution for Science. The researchers used data from the European Southern Observatory and analyzed it with a new data-analysis method, incorporating measurements from the WM Keck Observatory’s High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph and the new Carnegie Planet Finder Spectrograph at the Magellan II Telescope. Initial observations show promising results.

The planet under the telescope here, ‘GJ667Cc’, has a regular orbital period of 28 days. Its temperature is in the range where water will exist in liquid form and orbits around an M-class dwarf star which sits in the star system called GJ667C. Two more stars (orange K dwarfs) are present in the system which falls under an area with an environment which the scientists in the Kepler mission never expected to find Earth-like planets.

And GJ667Cc is not the only possible candidate from the system. The planet sits between two additional planets that may also be Earth candidates. GJ667Cc, receives light in the tune of around 90 percent of what Earth gets. The energy received is mostly infrared and so the planet absorbs most of the heat, pointing at chances of it being a warm and cosy place (see image below). But more observations have to be conducted to get a conclusive picture before future missions can be made.

The discovery has reinforced the fact that many Earth-like planets exist in our galaxy and will perhaps convince skeptical scientists and religious leaders that we are not the only “intelligent life” out there.  “The detection of this planet, this nearby and this soon, implies that our galaxy must be teeming with billions of potentially habitable rocky planets,” says Vogt of UCSC.


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8 Comments

  1. Dabobcat41 says:

    Say we accomplish our goal and we reach this planet. What are we going to do from there? The civilizations that may or may not be there may be hostile. And seeing we are a very new planet compared to the others we would most likely have no chance against them. And I believe there are other civilizations out there, but I also believe that we have not heard from any for a reason. Again since we are a new planet, the others are far more advanced(most likely) and this probably means that they do not want to contact us, or for us to find them. Also take it easy I’m only 15 :p

  2. Sandy Watts says:

    There are theories on how to accomplish faster than light travel which would also incorporate elements of time travel… the possibilities are being explored. 

  3. Why does anyone bother with these earth-like planet stories when they are 22 light years away? I have no doubt that there countless planets like these in the galaxy, an interesting story would be about us being able to get there.

    • Guestme says:

      You…. are an idiot.
      Like, I wanna reply with something witty and appropriately condescending for your stupidity, but I just can’t.
      You’re just an idiot. that’s as simple as it gets.

    • Derp says:

      and you’re rude!

    • Buck Rogers says:

       I live in California, in 2009 a bill was passed to build a fast train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. They have not laid a single rail of track, so you idiots will not ever be going 22 light years anywhere.

    • ReligionIsDumb says:

      got any ideas? We physicists are kind of stuck on the whole ftl thing. We can see a path forward for surviving indefinitely in space (O’Neil Cylinder). We can see a way to generate power in the void of space for long periods of time (fusion). But we can’t figure out how to get there in a reasonable amount of time (FTL travel). I say we give up on FTL and focus on colony ships that spend several generations getting where they are going.

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