New study finds 4 planets orbit around Tau Ceti
– News of August 15, 2017 –
The Tau Ceti star is the 22nd star closest to our solar system. It is located only twelve light-years away from Earth. Just like our sun, it is a yellow dwarf. It is a little smaller and less active than the sun. A team of astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire has just published a study confirming the existence of four planets in orbit around Tau Ceti. These 4 planets would be telluric planets with masses of about 4 times that of the Earth. But what makes them really interesting is that two of these planets would be located in the habitable zone of their star.
The habitable zone of a star designates the zone where the conditions of temperature allow the water to exist in liquid form, a condition supposed necessary to the appearance of life. But although Tau Ceti seems to offer hospitable conditions on these two planets, the star also has a disc of debris that could cause intense meteorite bombardment on the planets. But as the planets discovered around Tau Ceti are much more massive than the Earth, it would be logical for them to have a very dense atmosphere that could be able to deflect or disintegrate most meteorites.
Because of its proximity and its resemblance to the sun, Tau Ceti is one of the stars most studied by the extraterrestrial intelligence research program. SETI had also made its first observation campaign towards Tau Ceti in 1960.
Image by Astronomy in pictures