Astronomers discover 3 ‘super-Earths’
Far more planets in universe than scientists previously believed
Posted: June 17, 2008
9:53 pm Eastern © 2009 WorldNetDaily
Artist impression of ‘super-Earth’ trio (courtesy, ESO)
For the first time in history, scientists have discovered three Earth-sized planets orbiting a solitary star that is slightly less massive than the sun.
Astronomers believe the planets, called "super-Earths," could be very similar in composition and size to Earth itself, more so than any other planet in our solar system.
The smallest of the trio is approximately four times the size of Earth, and scientists believe its blistering climate is far too hot to sustain life.
The "super-Earths" are only three new additions to a list of 45 planet candidates with a mass below 30 Earth masses and an orbital period of less than 50 days, the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, or ESO, reports.
"Does every single star harbour planets and, if yes, how many?" planet hunter Michel Mayor from Geneva Observatory said. "We may not yet know the answer but we are making huge progress towards it."