One of Five Possible Planets Circling Tau Ceti Could Be Habitable - Astronomers
By Arlene Paredes | December 20, 2012 9:35 AM EST
Astronomers have spotted five possible planets within Earth's vast neighborhood. One of these relatively nearby planets could be habitable, according to a study.
The five astronomical bodies have yet to be officially called planets because studies are still ongoing. But a couple of things can be shared with the public as early as now.
7 Things To Know About Astronomers' Studies into Possible 5-Planet Tau Ceti System
1. The five candidate planets are revolving around a star called Tau Ceti, which is only about 12 light-years from Earth.
2. Due to its relatively close proximity, Tau Ceti is visible to the naked eye in the constellation Cetus (the Whale). It is smaller and less intense than the sun.
3. One of the five possible planets has been observed to be within the right distance from Tau Ceti. It is possible for liquid water to exist in its environment. As such, life as we know it could be possible there.
4. The possible planet is estimated to be at least 4.3 times more massive than Earth. Once verified, it will be the smallest Earth-like planet ever discovered. It takes 168 days for this candidate planet to circle Tau Ceti .
5. "It is impossible to tell the composition, but I do not consider this particular planet to be very likely to have a rocky surface," lead study author Mikko Tuomi, of the University of Hertfordshire in England, told SPACE.com.
Tuomi carefully expressed nothing has been confirmed but "we cannot rule out the possibility that it indeed is of planetary origin."
6. Early studies around Tau Ceti led to nothing. The latest study made use of three elite spectrographs from Chile, Australia and Hawaii.
7. "Planetary systems found around nearby stars close to our sun indicate that these systems are common in our Milky Way galaxy." This is the implication of the latest study findings, according to James Jenkins, of the Universidad de Chile and the University of Hertfordshire.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Gennady Golovkin Next Fight Options: Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto Or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
- NFL MNF: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Houston Texans 23 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 1: San Francisco Giants 7, Kansas City Royals 1 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series - Game 2: Kansas City Royals 7, San Francisco Giants 2 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Ebola Fears Cause Hysteria In United States And Around The World
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Duchess All Smiles In First Public Appearance, Sickness Seems Over
- Baby Corpses Found in Storage Locker in Canada
- Woman Stuck In Chimney: Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa Arrested For Attempted Break-In After Rescue Team Pulls Stuck Woman Out Of Chimney
- ISIS Taking U.S.-Airdropped Weapons An 'Embarrassment'; Another Yazidi Massacre Looming [VIDEO]
- Chilling: New ISIS Video Addresses Australia; Aussie Teen Delivers Message
- The Pirate Bay Blockade: Cost Of Blocking Websites Like TPB Is Ridiculously High
- Xiaomi Mi4 And MiPad Prices Likely Slashed, Thanks To Rivals Oppo, OnePlus And Meizu
- Virginia Woman Who Posted Naked Image Of Ex-BF’s New Partner 1st Person Charged Under Revenge Porn Law
- No Mercy: ISIS, Father Stones to Death Daughter for Alleged Adultery
- iOS 8 Jailbreak Release Date is Doomed as Team Evad3rs Opts Out, Pangu Hits Snag – Report
- Google Nexus 6 vs. iPhone 5S: 4 Important Things to Consider Before Switching to Android Lollipop