Astronomers discover 'super-earth' among more than 100 new planets

Astronomers discover 'super-earth' along with more than 100 new planets

Some of the planets discovered are in our immediate solar neighbourhood

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Astronomers have discovered a "super-earth" near our solar system among more than 100 new planets.

In total 114 new planets have been discovered, 60 of which are said to be situated in what is called our immediate solar neighbourhood.

The super-earth is named Gliese 411b and is in the fourth-closest star system to our own sun, The Huffington Post reported.

The planet is hot and rocky, and scientists say this discovery is important as it shows most of the nearest stars to the sun have planets orbiting them, and they could be like earth. 

Dr Mikko Tuomi, part of the international group which discovered the planets, said: "It is fascinating to think that when we look at the nearest stars, all of them appear to have planets orbiting them.

"This is something astronomers were not convinced about, even as little as five years ago."

Researchers believe some of the planets they have discovered could support life, The Independent said.

The team made the discovery after information about 20 years of observations and stars were made publicly available, facilitated by the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey.

It included almost 61,000 individual observations of 1,600 stars from US astronomers, using the Keck-I telescope based in Hawaii.

Using this information the scientists were able to track tiny colour changes in stars, which revealed the existence of planets.