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HARPS

  1. Nearby Star Hosts Three Super-Earths in Habitable Zone

    A closer look at a star once thought to hold no more mysteries reveals a treasure trove of exoplanets.

    An international team of researchers and astronomers  have found what could be the motherlode of habitable exoplanets in a nearby star system. According to a new examination of the data, researchers believe the nearby star Gliese 667C -- found just 22 light years away in the constellation Scorpius -- hosts six planets. That's twice as many bodies as the star was thought to be home to, but that's not the big news. The big news is that three of the planets orbiting Gliese 667C are thought to be in the habitable zone, capable of hosting liquid water, and possibly able to support life.

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  2. 50 Exoplanets Found, One Might Be An Inhabitable Super-Earth

    The HARPS team at the La Silla Observatory in Chile recently discovered a slew of 50 exoplanets in one go. Of these 50, there is one that is particularly interesting as it may be able to support life: HD 85512 b. This rocky planet that is about 3 times the mass of Earth and sits on the edge of its star's habitable area. Early calculations suggest it has an average temperature around 77 degrees Fahrenheit, a fact which in turn suggests it has 50% cloud cover -- both very Earthlike qualities. As much as we'd all like it to be a potential Earth Prime, it's worth keeping in mind that this isn't a sure thing, yet.

    You remember, perhaps, Gliese 581g which was also touted to be an Earthlike, potentially life-sustaining planet until its discovery fell into question. While that is unlikely to happen a second time, it's possible that HD 85512 b's clouds might be made of something other than water or that there is no water on the planet at all. It's hard to tell.

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