New observations of the star Gliese 667Câ€”about one-third the mass of our sunâ€”is home to between five and seven planets, three of which are classified as super-Earths. All three are larger than our own planet, but smaller than gas giants like Uranus and Neptune.
But what makes all the difference is that these super-Earths orbit in what is known as the â€œGoldilocks Zoneâ€â€”the region around a star where temperatures are just right for liquid water, a key ingredient in the recipe for life,Â to exist.
â€œThese planets are good candidates to have a solid surface and maybe an atmosphere like the Earthâ€™s, not something like Jupiter,â€ said study co-author and University of Washington astronomer Rory Barnes in aÂ statement this week.
What makes this finding so exciting is that for the first time, astronomers have three potentially rocky or ocean worlds orbiting the same star. And at 22 light-years away from Earth, Gliese 667C and itâ€™s two companion stars are considered relatively close neighbors to our solar system, making them ideal candidates for future extraterrestrial searches for life.