Feeds

Boffins spot 7 ALIEN WORLDS right in our galactic backyard

Confirmed Milky Way exoplanets could be home to ETs

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Boffins are putting together a new catalogue of all the confirmed planets that could harbour extraterrestrial life, with seven worlds in our Milky Way making the list so far.

Seven worlds in the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog

The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, a project of the Planetary Habitability Lab at the University of Puerto Rico, looks at the planets spotted by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) and the Kepler Space Telescope and narrows those worlds down to those with the most potential for life.

There are nearly 80 confirmed exoplanets in the sky and 250 Kepler candidates, all similarly sized to Earth, but only a few of them could really support life because they're the right distance from their sun to have liquid water.

The Catalog uses the Earth Similarity Index to classify and rank the habitability of these planets, whittling out those that are Earth-size or physically similar to Earth, but not actually Earth-like. The criteria in the index are the variability of energy from the host star, the mass of the planet and the size of the world.

Boffins have decided that seven of the worlds could support alien life, with 27 more NASA Kepler candidates awaiting confirmation.

Controversial Gliese 581g made the list, despite the fact that its existence has been disputed. 581g is claimed to orbit the red dwarf star Gliese 581 in the constellation of Libra, the sixth planet discovered in the system and fourth from the star. But HARPS wasn't able to fully confirm the discovery first announced by the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey late in 2010.

Also in the Catalog are HD 85512b, Kepler 22b, Gliese 667Cc, Gliese 163c and HD 40307g, all of which are super-Earth planets. The project will be expanding its models and analysis in the next year, which may impact some of the worlds already listed, but could also add more planets.

The Catalog is also looking forward to the possibility of spotting a potentially habitable exomoon or a true Earth twin, the same size as our world, both of which would be "big discoveries". ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.