A Review of Lee Billings' 'Do 3 Habitable Super-Earths Really Orbit a Nearby Star?'
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Lee Billings' article in Scientific American, "Do 3 Habitable Super-Earths Really Orbit a Nearby Star?", reports on the possible discovery of additional planets by multiple sources. The planets in question orbit the Gliese 667 C star, and were detected by a team of astronomers composed of Gulliem Anglada-Escuede of Germany's Gottingen and by Hertfordshire's Mikko Tuomi, as well as by Philip Gregory in Canada. Both of these respective researchers utilized data from the HARPS spectrograph to study 7 planets orbiting the star, three of which may be able to sustain life. The researchers used HARPS data with statistical processes to discern the fact that the planets produced a "wobble" (Billings) on the star, which indicated that they could be actual planets.
These results are considered significant by the researchers in the article and by the scientific community in general because they provide some evidence for the fact that there are other sources of life in the universe. Additionally, these findings are important because they provide evidence that there are a number of "dynamically packed" (Billings) solar systems, in which the potential planets are huddled closely about their solar systems. This fact means that there may be a lot more planets in the universe than scientists were previously aware of (since they are grouped so closely together), which increases the possibility of additional life in the universe. Future research is needed to corroborate these initial findings