Online Catalog Lists Potentially-Habitable Planets

Posted December 5th, 2011 at 11:30 pm (UTC-4)

Looking for another planet to live one?  A new online catalog might help you with that.

Hundreds of possible planets have been discovered outside of our Solar System in the past couple of decades.

Since the first confirmed detection of one in 1992, some 707 of these  exoplanets have been identified, according to the online Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia.

This "periodic table" of exoplanets, including confirmed and NASA Kepler candidates, divide most of the known exoplanets into six mass and three temperatures groups (18 categories total).

This periodic table, of confirmed and candidate exoplanets, divides most of the known exoplanets into six mass and three temperature groups, 18 categories total. (PHL copyright UPR Arecibo)

The Kepler Mission, NASA’s first mission capable of finding Earth-sized planets around other stars has identified 1,235 exoplanet candidates, although only 27 have been confirmed.

A team of astronomers from the California Institute of Technology  just announced it has discovered 18 new Jupiter-like exoplanets.

Back in September 2010, a team of astronomers made headlines when they announced their discovery of the first potentially-habitable exoplanet – with three times the mass of Earth – orbiting a nearby star called Gliese 581.

Now scientists at the Planetary Habitability Laboratory of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo (UPR Arecibo) have come up with the new online assessment of the habitability of these new planets.

It’s called the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog (HEC). Officials at the laboratory say the catalog not only identifies new potential habitable exoplanets, including exomoons (satellites of exoplanets), but also ranks them according to various habitability indicators.

“One important outcome of these rankings is the ability to compare exoplanets from best to worst candidates for life,” says Abel Méndez, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory and principal investigator of the project.

HEC features new habitability assessments like the Earth Similarity Index (ESI) or the “easy scale,” which measures how similar planets are to Earth on a scale from zero to one, with one being identical to Earth.

The Habitable Zones Distance (HZD) is a measure of how far a planet is from the center of its parent star habitable zone (HZ) and the Global Primary Habitability (GPH), measures the surface suitability of a planetary body for a global biosphere.

The catalog also uses other previously established classification systems and compares each potentially-habitable planet with Earth, both past and present.

Rick Pantaleo
Rick Pantaleo maintains the Science World blog and writes stories for VOA’s web and radio on a variety of science, technology and health topics. He also occasionally appears on various VOA programs to talk about the latest scientific news. Rick joined VOA in 1992 after a 20 year career in commercial broadcasting.

4 responses to “Online Catalog Lists Potentially-Habitable Planets”

  1. Otto Krog says:

    Off course there is life out there.

    We just have to exceed the speed of light to get there faster than 36

    years. In a few decades it will be done.

    But not untill my philosophical theory gets investigated.

    I am pretty sure that it is wrong, but it might get somebody to think.

    What if the speed of light varies through time and space?That would

    create some interesting theory.

    At least I think so.

    Antimatter is the mind and consciousness of all living entities.

    You are your own universe.

    Reality is where the minds (antimatter) meets the physical universe.

    Interested? Then read my philosophical multiverse theory.

    Google crestroyer theory, and find it instantly.

  2. […] the criteria for habitability. …Earth-like planets feature in new surveySky News AustraliaOnline Catalog Lists Potentially-Habitable PlanetsVoice of America (blog)Many other 'earth' worlds out thereNews24The […]

    • in ancient hindu book of ram the epikc ramayan it is described that there are so many brahmandas having habitated planets where the story of rama is played .
      people living in these planets are of different colour ,hight and shape and intellect.
      we cant say this discription is just imagination or wisdom or that of some vanished knowldge

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