50 new exoplanets were found, one of which is potentially inhabited

Work on the discovery of extrasolny planets give more and more positive results. As part of the Extreme Solar Systems conference, taking place in Switzerland these days, the Astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) spoke about the opening of 50 new exoplanets found using the Harps spectrograph (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planetary Search). The tool is installed on a 3.6-meter telescope in the ESO Observatory in La Sieli in Chile. The accuracy of determining the radiation speeds of stars at Harps in some cases reaches 60 centimeters per second.

During his report, the head of the European group for the search for extra -headed planets, the Swiss astronomer Michel Mayor, who, by the way, the first in the world found an exoplanet, so commented on the latest results: «Harps discovery crop surpassed all expectations and includes an exceptionally rich population of Super Earth and Neptunes, planets rotating among stars that are very similar to our sun. And what is still better – New results show that the pace of discoveries is accelerated».

Of the 50 discovered planets 16, they belong to the super -earth class, that is, they have mass in the range from 1 to 10 earthly. Of greatest interest is the planet HD 85512b, located in the inhabited zone of its star. The planetary system, which appears around the HD 85512 star, is removed from us for 35 light years and is located in the constellation Sail. According to experts, the temperature on the surface of the planet is on average +250C, who makes her the most likely candidate for inhabited planets of all open today.

ESO experts plans to photograph HD 85512B directly within the next 10-11 years, when the construction of the E-Elt telescope is completed (European Extremely Large Telescope). By 2016, an ESPresso spectrograph will be installed on the current VLT telescope, the measurement accuracy of which will be improved by an order of magnitude compared to Harps. This will allow you to look for planets with a small mass that appears around dull stars. In 5 years, the Codex tool will come to the aid of Espresso, which will work on E-Elt, the measurement error will not exceed 1 cm/s.

The results of the latest observations make it possible to evaluate the approximate number of exoplanets with greater accuracy. According to scientists, around 40% of stars similar in parameters with the Sun, there is at least one planet with a mass of less than a mass of Saturn. This increases the chance to discover the planet similar to Earth in the very near future. «Detection HD 85512B is not the limit for Harps. The discovery only demonstrates the possibility of detecting other super -earth in inhabited zones around stars like sunsu», — The major says.


  • ESO, Space.com

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