Astronomers Find Habitable Planet 22 Light Years AwayBy: Richard Stalker - April 27, 2012
Astronomers have found a super earth located just 22 light years away from us. This follows a discovery that there is a distinct possibility that there are close to 1 billion habitable planets in our galaxy and close to 100 within 20 light years. The planet named Gliese 667Cc, is orbiting a binary star system. That means there are two suns instead of one, just like Luke Skywalkers home planet of Tatooine.
The High Accuracy Radial Planetary Searcher (HARPS) telescope, which measures the radial velocity of a star, was used to find the planet. It was initially discovered last year, but they recently went back over the data with a new equation and discovered that the planet in question is not only in the green zone, but that it is a solid planet, not gaseous as previously thought.
Steven Vogt, an astronomer from the University of California, said: “It´s the Holy Grail of exo-planet research to find a planet orbiting around a star at the right distance so it´s not too close where it would lose all its water and not too far where it would freeze. He also added, “It´s right there in the habitable zone – there´s no question or discussion about it. It is not on the edge. It is right in there.”
Before you get all excited about this planet, you need to realize that at current technology and speeds it would take 492,000 years (light travels 129,329,758,210,039.39 in 22 years, divide that by the fastest man made object Voyager which is appox. 30,000MPH I get 4,310,991 hours. Divide that by 24 hrs in a day and I get 179,624,664 days, divide that by 365 days in a year and I get 492122 years).
Basically that by the time we got to the destination, assuming that man has neither been destroyed or destroyed himself, and that technology continues to advance at its current rate, we would pass them up hundreds of thousands of years before they even get there. Is there a point in even looking for a world like that until we are even remotely close to even achieving 1/10 of the speed of light? Then It would only take 220 years to get there which is still a long time but only about 9 generations deep.
This photo is courtesy of PHL @ UPR Arecibo (phl.upr.edu)