Habitable Planets in Gliese 667C Star System: Researchers

June 25, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Habitable planets were found in Gliese 667C’s star system by astronomers, researchers said Tuesday.

A team of scientists found three planets that are potentially habitable around 667C, a star located some 22 light-years from Earth. The star has at least six planets orbiting it.

The planets are located in the “habitable zone” of the star, meaning the temperature region that could potentially support liquid water and life.

The planets are smaller than Neptune or Uranus but larger than Earth, said the European Space Organization, which published the finding.

“We knew that the star had three planets from previous studies, so we wanted to see whether there were any more,” Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire co-author said in a release.

He continued: “By adding some new observations and revisiting existing data we were able to confirm these three and confidently reveal several more. Finding three low-mass planets in the star’s habitable zone is very exciting!”

Co-author Rory Barnes noted that “the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy is much greater if we can expect to find several of them around each low-mass star.”

He said that rather than looking at “ten stars,” scientists can evaluate single stars and their systems to find several potentially habitable planets.