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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Dec > Dec 19

'Earth-Like Planet' Detected Close To Nearby Star

From: Ray Dickenson <r.dickenson.nul>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 10:55:29 -0000
Archived: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:10:30 -0500
Subject: 'Earth-Like Planet' Detected Close To Nearby Star

Hello List,

The comments by Steve Vogt are interesting,



Source: Telegraph.Co.Uk


19 Dec 2012

'Earth-Like Planet' Detected Close To Nearby Star Tau Ceti,

one of our closest stars, could host an Earth-like planet,
astronomers have said.

Located a relatively near 12 light years away, the Sun-like star
has five planets that orbit it in a balmy zone which gives the
best chance for nurturing life, they said.

One of the planets has a mass about five times that of the
Earth, making it the smallest planet found so far in the area,
they said. That planet, known as e, is the right distance from
the star to be warm enough, but not too hot, to potentially
support life.

Around 800 exoplanets - worlds orbiting stars other than our own
- have been spotted since 1995.

But none is a home from home. These planets are either
uninhabitable gas giants or rocky planets that swing so close to
their star that they are literally roasted.

The quest is to find a rocky planet that is not only close to
the mass of Earth but is also located in the so-called
"Goldilocks zone".

This is an orbital distance from the star where temperature is
neither too hot nor too cold, but just right to sustain liquid
water, which is essential for life as we know it.

The Tau Ceti finding was made by astronomers from Australia,
Britain, Chile and the United States, who applied a new
technique to filter data from more than 6,000 observations.

By doing so, they believe they rooted out distorting signals,
called "noise", that masked the existence of low-mass planets.

They applied the technique to light from Tau Ceti, where they
determine it is not a lone star but in fact one with a planetary
system, they said.

"This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that
virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have
many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets," said Steve
Vogt, a veteran exoplanet-hunter.

"We are now beginning to understand that Nature seems to
overwhelmingly prefer systems that have multiple planets with
orbits of less than one hundred days," he said in a press
release published by Britain's University of Hertfordshire.

"This is quite unlike our own solar system where there is
nothing with an orbit inside that of Mercury. So our solar
system is, in some sense, a bit of a freak and not the most
typical kind of system that Nature cooks up."

On October 17, European astronomers reported they had detected a
planet with about the mass of Earth orbiting Alpha Centauri B,
which is only 4.3 light years away.

However, the planet itself is not "another Earth" as it is not
in the Goldilocks zone. It zips around the star at a scorchingly
close distance, and liquid water could not exist there.


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