Seven Milky Way planets that could harbour life discovered
The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog (HEC) celebrated its first anniversary by announcing that it had exceeded expectations in its search for possible new Earths.
Abel Mendez, director of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo's Planetary Habitability Laboratory and lead researcher, said the team had hoped to add perhaps one or two planets in the project's first year, the 'SPACE.com' reported.
He said the addition of five possibly habitable planets over the two already known totally exceeded anyone's expectations.
"There are many press releases announcing discoveries of habitable planets ... and that is confusing. So having a catalogue that everyone can check what is available right now is useful," Mendez said.
Mendez also said scientists are getting smarter about finding exoplanets, and the pace of discovery is increasing.
There are 27 candidate planets waiting for inclusion in the habitable portion of the catalog. Meanwhile, the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) instrument in Chile and orbiting Kepler Space Telescope, among others, are
quickly finding new exoplanets every month.
Mendez's team principally assesses the potential of life on a planet using three metrics: the variability of energy from the host star that the planet receives, the mass of the planet and the planet's size.
Simplistically, bigger gas giants orbiting variable stars are less likely to host life than smaller, rocky planets near stable stars.
Much of the catalog's data come directly from
Be the first to comment.