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‘Super Earth’ planet, HD 40307 g discovered, could be habitable

Nov 8 (): A newly discovered “super-Earth” planet, HD 40307 g, is in the “Goldilocks Zone” just the right place to support liquid water. It resides in a system of six worlds orbiting a stable, elderly dwarf star 44 light years away.

A team led by Mikko Tuomi from the University of Hertfordshire in England announced the discovery of the planet, HD40307g, in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The star HD 40307, less luminous and slightly smaller than our star, the Sun, was earlier detected by astronomers to have three super-Earths (planets slightly massive than our own planets) orbiting around its star.

The research team re-analyzed observations of the HD 40307 system made by an instrument called the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS.

Mikko Tuomi said his team used the technique, new data analysis, which included the use of wavelength as filter to decrease the effect of action on the signal from this star. By using the wavelength as a filter, the process significantly improved the sensitivity and also enabled the team of researchers to discover 3 new super-Earth planets around the star called as HD 40307, thus making the system into a six-planet system, he said.

And also the team revealed that out of the newly discovered planets, the most interesting study revealed is the planet, which is at the outermost orbit of the star that has mass of at least 7 times of the Earth.

The other two newly found exoplanets are probably too hot to support life, researchers said. But HD 40307 g orbits around the host star at a similar distance to Earth’s orbit around our Sun, so it receives a similar amount of energy from the star as the Earth receives from the Sun, increasing the probability of it being habitable. It takes 200 days to orbits its star.

Rather, HD 40307 g probably rotates freely just like our planet does, showing each side of itself to the star in due course, creating a daytime and nighttime effect on the planet which would be better at creating an Earth-like environment.

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