Scientist Find Multiple Planet System Orbiting Gliese 887

Related Articles

Related Articles

The nearest exoplanets to us provide the best opportunities for detailed study, including searching for evidence of life outside the Solar System.

In research led by the University of Göttingen, the RedDots team of astronomers has detected a system of super-Earth planets orbiting the nearby star Gliese 887, the brightest red dwarf star in the sky. Super-Earths are planets which have a mass higher than the Earth’s but substantially below those of our local ice giants, Uranus and Neptune. The newly discovered super-Earths lie close to the red dwarf’s habitable zone, where water can exist in liquid form, and could be rocky worlds. The results were published in the journal Science.

The RedDots team of astronomers monitored the red dwarf, using the HARPS spectrograph at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. They used a technique known as “Doppler wobble”, which enables them to measure the tiny back and forth wobbles of the star caused by the gravitational pull of the planets.

The regular signals correspond to orbits of just 9.3 and 21.8 days, indicating two super-Earths – Gliese 887b and Gliese 887c – both larger than the Earth yet moving rapidly, much faster even than Mercury. Scientists estimate the temperature of Gliese 887c to be around 70oC.

Gliese 887 is one of the closest stars to the Sun at around 11 light years away. It is much dimmer and about half the size of our Sun, which means that the habitable zone is closer to Gliese 887 than Earth’s distance from the Sun. RedDots discovered two more interesting facts about Gliese 887, which turn out to be good news not only for the newly discovered planets but also for astronomers.

The first is that the red dwarf has very few starspots, unlike our Sun. If Gliese 887 was as active as our Sun, it is likely that a strong stellar wind – outflowing material which can erode a planet’s atmosphere – would simply sweep away the planets’ atmospheres. This means that the newly discovered planets may retain their atmospheres, or have thicker atmospheres than the Earth, and potentially host life, even though GJ887 receives more light than the Earth. The other interesting feature the team discovered is that the brightness of Gliese 887 is almost constant. Therefore, it will be relatively easy to detect the atmospheres of the super-Earth system, making it a prime target for the James Webb Space Telescope, a successor to the Hubble Telescope.


Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

Dr Sandra Jeffers, from the University of Göttingen and lead author of the study, says: “These planets will provide the best possibilities for more detailed studies, including the search for life outside our Solar System.”

UNIVERSITY OF GÖTTINGEN

Header Image – Artist’s impression of the multiplanetary system of newly discovered super-Earths orbiting nearby red dwarf Gliese 887. Image Credit : Mark Garlick

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Scientist Find Multiple Planet System Orbiting Gliese 887

The nearest exoplanets to us provide the best opportunities for detailed study, including searching for evidence of life outside the Solar System.

The Magnetic History of Ice

The history of our planet has been written, among other things, in the periodic reversal of its magnetic poles. Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science propose a new means of reading this historic record: in ice.

The second-most distant quasar ever discovered now has a Hawaiian name

Astronomers have discovered the second-most distant quasar ever found using three Maunakea Observatories in Hawai'i: W. M. Keck Observatory, the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF's NOIRLab, and the University of Hawai'i-owned United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT).

Thera – The Ancient City

Thera is an archaeological site and ancient city located on the Greek island of Santorini, also called Thera.

How Volcanoes Explode n the Deep Sea

Most volcanic eruptions take place unseen at the bottom of the world's oceans. In recent years, oceanography has shown that this submarine volcanism not only deposits lava but also ejects large amounts of volcanic ash.

Historic Floods Reveal how Salt Marshes Can Save Lives in the Future

Coastal wetlands like salt marshes are increasingly recognized as valuable natural defenses that protect coasts against strong wave attacks.

Research reveals a nest of exceptionally small non-avian theropod egg fossils

When most of us think of dinosaurs, we envision large, lumbering beasts, but these giants shared their ecosystems with much smaller dinosaurs, the smaller skeletons of which were generally less likely to be preserved.

The Real Dracula?

“Dracula”, published in 1897 by the Irish Author Bram Stoker, introduced audiences to the infamous Count and his dark world of sired vampiric minions.

Ancient Maya Reservoirs Were Contaminated with Toxic Levels of Mercury and Algae

A study by the University of Cincinnati has found that the drinking water in the reservoirs in Maya city was polluted with toxic levels of mercury and algae.

Chan Chan – The Capital of the Chimú Kingdom

Chan Chan is an archaeological site and ancient capital of the Chimú Kingdom, located at the mouth of the Moche valley in an arid section of the coastal desert of northern Peru.

Popular stories