Scientists Discover System with Three Planets in Habitable Zone

W. M. Keck Observatory press release

A team of scientists recently confirmed six, and possibly seven, planets orbiting a star system a mere 22 light-years from Earth. More importantly, three of those planets are super-Earths, lying in the Goldilocks Zone where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life. This is the first system found with a fully-packed habitable zone. The findings will be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on June 26.

Previous studies of the triple star system called Gliese 667C showed the star hosts three planets with one of them in the habitable zone. Now, a team of astronomers has reexamined the system by re-mining existing European Southern Observatory’s HARPS data and combining it with data collected from the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Magellan Telescope to find evidence for up to seven planets around the star. These planets orbit the third faintest star of a triple star system. The two other suns would look like a pair of very bright stars visible in the daytime and at night they would provide as much illumination as the full Moon.
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