Scientists may be one step closer to figuring out if we’re alone in the universe. Astronomers recently discovered several nearby exoplanets that they say could “potentially host life,” orbiting the brightest red dwarf star in the sky.
According to a study published Thursday in the journal Science, a planet-hunting team of astronomers have found two super-Earths orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 887. The host star is just 11 light years from Earth — making us practically neighbors.
The team monitored the system using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at the European Southern Observatory in Chile and analyzed nearly two decades of archival data on the star. Using a technique called the “Doppler wobble,” the astronomers found the planets to have orbits of just 9.3 and 21.8 days — faster even than Mercury.