A multiplanet system of super-Earths orbiting the brightest red dwarf star GJ 887

Journal: Science

Published: 2020-06-26

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz0795

Affiliations: 19

Authors: 31

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Research Highlight

Possible living space in nearby star system



Exoplanets orbiting a nearby red dwarf star warrant a closer look for extraterrestrial life.

Nearby exoplanets are promising places to look for life outside our Solar System, but those with habitable conditions are rare.

A team that included researchers from the Spanish National Research Council used the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher in Chile to study a red dwarf star just 10.7 light years away. Radial velocity measurements of stars can be used to detect tiny wobbles in their motion caused by the gravitational tug of orbiting planets.

The team identified two exoplanets orbiting the star every 9 and 22 days. The relatively cool star has low flaring activity, but even if the more distant planet had an Earth-like atmosphere, it would be a toasty 80 degrees Celsius.

The signals also hint at a third planet circling the star in a more temperate orbit, which may be confirmed during further investigations of the system.

Supported content

  1. Science 368, 1477–1481 (2020). doi: 10.1126/science.aaz0795
Institutions Share
University of Göttingen, Germany 0.13
Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA), CSIC, Spain 0.13
Carnegie Observatories, CIS, United States of America (USA) 0.10
University of Chile, Chile 0.08
The Open University (OU), United Kingdom (UK) 0.06
Earth and Planets Laboratory, CIS, United States of America (USA) 0.06
University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia 0.06
University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia 0.06
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), United Kingdom (UK) 0.06
Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC), Spain 0.05
Institute of Astrophysics of Canarias (IAC), Spain 0.03
University of La Laguna (ULL), Spain 0.03
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), United States of America (USA) 0.03
University of Hertfordshire (UH), United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
Australian Astronomical Optics, Australia 0.03
University of Bern (UniBE), Switzerland 0.02
Center for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA), Chile 0.02