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.
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.