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

© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

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
Institute for Astrophysics, 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
Department of Astronomy, University of Chile, Chile 0.08
School of Physical Sciences, OU, United Kingdom (UK) 0.06
Earth and Planets Laboratory, CIS, United States of America (USA) 0.06
Exoplanetary Science Group, UNSW Sydney, Australia 0.06
Centre for Astrophysics (CA), USQ, Australia 0.06
School of Physics and Astronomy, 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
Department of Astrophysics, ULL, Spain 0.03
UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC, United States of America (USA) 0.03
Centre for Astrophysics Research (CAR), UH, United Kingdom (UK) 0.03
Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO), Australia 0.03
Institute of Physics, UniBE, Switzerland 0.02
Center for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA), Chile 0.02

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