A University of New South Wale (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered a potentially habitable Earth-like planet that is only 16 light years away.
An artist’s impression of the new planet and Earth. Image Credit: PHL, University of Puerto Rica, Arecibo
The “super-Earth” planet, GJ 832c, takes 16 days to orbit its red-dwarf star, GJ 832, and has a mass at least five times that of Earth. It receives about the same average stellar energy as Earth does, because red dwarfs shine more dimly than our Sun, and may have similar temperatures to our planet.
These characteristics put it among the top three most Earth-like planets, according to the Earth Similarity Index developed by scientists at the University of Puerto Rica in Arecibo.
The international team, led by Dr Robert Wittenmyer in the UNSW School of Physics, report their finding of the planet online ahead of publication in the Astrophysical Journal.
Team member and Head of UNSW’s Exoplanetary Science research group, Professor Chris Tinney, says that if the planet has a similar atmosphere to Earth it may be possible for life to survive, although seasonal shifts would be extreme. “However, given the large mass of the planet, it seems likely ...