In Science: 15 new planets confirmed

Another planet near our solar system could have water.
Another planet near our solar system could have water.
Artist's concept.
A super-Earth that could harbor liquid water is among 15 newly discovered planets orbiting small, cool stars near our solar system, according to the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

    Three planets slightly larger than Earth are in orbit around one of the brightest red dwarfs -- called K2-155, which is 200 light-years away. The outermost planet has a radius 1.6 times Earth and could be within the star’s habitable zone. The new planets have orbital periods ranging from one to 33 days.
    The "habitable zone” of a solar system is the distance of a planet from its star, which varies depending on the star's strength and determines whether the planet might be suitable for water and life. 
    The scientists used three-dimensional climate simulations in determining that the planet could have liquid water on its surface, the university's news release explains. The studies found that planets orbiting red dwarfs may be very similar to planets orbiting solar-type stars.
    Researchers used data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, along with ground-based telescopes, including the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii and the Nordic Optical Telescope in Spain. The Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, was tasked with finding Earthlike planets around other stars. Researchers, along with citizen scientists, are still looking at the data, and to date they have found more than 1,000 planets, including some thought to be potentially habitable.
    The scientists’ work has been published in two papers in The Astronomical Journal. More research is needed to determine whether the outermost planet, designated K2-155d, is habitable.


    NASA marks verification of 1,000th planet

    Planet in habitable zone orbits sunlike star 

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