The intriguing Universe is bringing mind-blowing details again. According to researchers, three new planets have been spotted orbiting a star located in the proximity of our solar system. What is even more interesting is that these planets have a structure similar to that of our planet and are capable of hosting extraterrestrial life.
The star is part of the red-dwarf family, being located at around 11 light-years away from the Earth. Gliese 887, as it was named, is the 13th closest star to our solar system that has ever been discovered. Fun fact: one light-year is the equivalent of 5.9 trillion miles. Even though usually red dwarfs are quite limited in the levels of light and heat emitted, Gliese 887 is unique in terms of energetic outbursts.
Two of the discovered planets have been closely analyzed. The collected data shows that one of them needs 9 Earth days to complete a full orbit around Gliese 887, while the other needs 21 days. In addition to this, the second planet is situated in the habitable zone, called Goldilocks, the perfect environment to host liquid water, the key ingredient to developing life.
In the meantime, the third planet orbit is still under observations, and researchers think that it is also located in the habitable zone. The leading author of the study, astronomer Sandra Jeffers, professor at the University of Gottingen in Germany, has declared that these three planets are “super-Earth” planets, bearing a striking resemblance to our Earth.
Additionally, she strongly believes that it is of paramount importance to study these planets since they may present the atmosphere, making them the perfect candidates for hosting living creatures. The impressive results of this study have caught the attention of NASA, which has declared that the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope will target these interesting planets when it will be released in 2021.