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Of Many Suns

An artist's representation of Gliese 667Cc, a lovely planet thought to be one of the first that resides in the so called "Goldilock's Zone", that is, the area not too close and not too far from a star where water could generally remain liquid. Which, we think today, is necessary for life. I suspect we'll find this is not so limiting in the future, but that's for then.

For now - perhaps one of the coolest Exoplanets discovered to date, orbiting a small red dwarf star which in turn orbits a pair of much larger stars who are orbiting each other. Fun fact to know and share: It's estimated that about 60% of all stars are at least binaries - stars orbiting stars. Our sun is a minority in this regard.

Here's another artist's interpretation of Gliese 667Cc:
Nice, right? Only 22 Light Years away. Or, that is, they've got The Simpsons on reruns now too. But just when everyone was all fired up about GL667Cc, up and comes PH1, or Kepler-64B:
It's a big Gas Giant 5000LY away so kinda boring in that regard, but not in this - it orbits a pair of stars. One planet orbiting two stars. These two stars are in turn orbited by another pair, like this:
Confusing as heck! And night time would be a thing of rarity. Good for beach going though! Except for the Gas Giant thing. But you know.

Another cool first with PH1 was it was discovered by "amateurs" using publicly accessible data from the Kepler Space Telescope. The best space telescope, by the way. Yeah, Hubble, you heard me.

4 comments:

Madeline Ashwell said...

Nice post, and great blog!

Redshirt said...

Thanks for the kind words Madeline. Dig your site too - we share many of the same interests so that might be only natural.

l.e.s.ter said...

I love the representation of Gliese 667Cc's surface. Are they saying those ridgelines were caused by water erosion?

Redshirt said...

That's the theory. All guesses, mind you. We don't have anywhere near the tech to actually see the surface of an Exoplanet. Heck, we can't see Pluto's surface in detail, even with the Hubble.

What we can do, however, is measure the spectrum of light that passes through the Exoplanet's atmosphere, and thus determine the chemical composition of that atmosphere. This can tell us a great deal - the presence of water, easily, but also possibly the presence of life.