Eight new planets discovered possibly habitable


Astronomers announced on Tuesday, that eight new planets, orbiting their own stars, have been discovered in the so called “Goldilocks Zone,” an area which is neither too hot or cold, allowing for the possibility of life existing. Three of the planets discovered are in a habitable zone, which receives the same amount of sunlight and are approximately the same size as planet Earth.

The discovery was made public at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting held in Seattle, Washington on Tuesday.

According to scientists, two of these exoplanets, called Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, each orbit a star, other than the sun, and are more similar to Earth than any other planet discovered outside our solar system.

"Most of these planets have a good chance of being rocky, like Earth," said lead author Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA)

It remains uncertain however as to whether the exoplanets discovered are habitable as they are too far away, with Kepler-438b being 470 light-years away and Kepler-442b 1100 light-years. According to CfA, the distances makes them too small to measure, meaning that learning more about them will come as a significant challenge.

“We don’t know for sure whether any of the planets in our sample are truly habitable,” CfA’s second author, David Kipping said.

"All we can say is that they're promising candidates."


IMAGE sourced from  www.phys.org. Photo Caption: An artist's conception depicts an Earth-like planet orbiting an evolved star.