SCI: Two new planetary systems found

From: mez (
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 17:10:45 MST

One of those systems, Gliese 876, is only 15 light years from Earth.
Gliese 876 is the 40th closest star system to our own, and the closest
planetary system yet discovered. It was actually discovered in 98,
but just recently astronomers detected a second planet in the system.

The current gravitational-wobble techniques for planet hunting tend to
find huge, close in planets - not generally the sort we would consider
candidates for earth-like life. In this case, one of the planets around
876 is at least 1.5 times the mass of Jupiter, and a mere 0.2 AU away
from the star. Despite
that, this planet may have the right temperature for liquid water to
be found. This is because Glies 876 is a small red dwarf, several
hundred times less luminous than Sol.

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