Habitable planets discovered

This piece of research has tripled the estimate of the number of habitable planets in the universe – we are probably not alone! 

Lost in Space

Call it what you like.
One day I write of Dynamo,
with alien powers from afar.
The next they find in Scorpio,
orbiting close to an M-dwarf star
named Gliese 6-6-7-C,
which seems not very far in space,
twenty-two light-years to be precise,
a nice, cool, rocky but habitable place
where aliens could be.
Three exo-planets, super-earths,
berths for life in our galaxy.

We look, we seek, we question why.
Perhaps one day we’ll speak again
of the answers that we find.
Perhaps one day we’ll boldly go,
crossing space to Scorpio
in search of the home of Dynamo,
diaspora of mankind.

25th June 2013 – headline from BBC

Notes:  “Star is crowded by super-Earths.”  Scientists have identified three new planets around a star in the constellation of Scorpio.  The star, Gliese 667C is 22 light-years away and is a low-luminosity “M-dwarf” star just over one-third the mass of our Sun.  The discovery means there are three so-called super-Earths orbiting in its “habitable zone”.  This is the region where temperatures ought to allow for the possibility of liquid water, although no-one can say for sure what conditions are really like on these planets.  The discovery demonstrates that low-mass stars can be hosts of several potentially habitable planets which means that we might have to double or treble our estimates for the occurrence rate of habitable-zone planets around M-dwarf stars.  So, although only a rather simple discovery, its implications might force a re-think of how common habitable-zone planets are in the Universe..

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