Over 50 New Exoplanets Discovered, Including 16 Super-Earths

Posted on September 12, 2011

HD 85512 b

Astronomers using ESO's exoplanet hunter HARPS have announced the discovery of more than 50 new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. The new planets include sixteen Super-Earths, which are planets within the habitable zone of their parent star.

One of the recently announced newly discovered planets, HD 85512 b, is estimated to be only 3.6 times the mass of the Earth and is located at the edge of the habitable zone, where liquid water, and perhaps even life, could potentially exist. An artist's impession of HD 85512 b is pictured above.

National Geographic reports that new discoveries brings the number of known extrasolar planets to 645. The new findings are being presented at a conference on Extreme Solar Systems where 350 exoplanet experts are meeting in Wyoming, USA.

Image: ESO/M. Kornmesser
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