Solar neighbourhood M dwarfs and super-Earths in the habitable zone

ESO press release

Just by way of clarification: nine super-Earths of which two in the habitable zone newly discovered, from observations of 102 nearby M dwarfs. The two are planets around Gliese 581 and Gliese 667 C. The image is a beautiful artists’ rendering of the view from the planet in the Gliese 667 triple system.

By combining all the data, including observations of stars that did not have planets, and looking at the fraction of existing planets that could be discovered, the team has been able to work out how common different sorts of planets are around red dwarfs.

That is, using additional observations of other M dwarfs, sufficiently sensitive to detect a super-Earth but where no such planet was detected, the Grenoble team arrive at the 40% value for the expected fraction of M dwarfs, where Jupiter and Saturn- mass planets also exist, with super-Earths in the HZ.

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