16 'super-Earths' found outside solar system
The HARPS instrument has identified an Earth-like planet, shown in this artist's impression, orbiting star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela.
September 13th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

16 'super-Earths' found outside solar system

It's not like aliens put up a welcome banner or anything, but scientists now have newly identified at least one planet that could potentially sustain life.

The European Southern Observatory has just announced the discovery of more than 50 new exoplanets (planets outside our solar system), including 16 super-Earths (planets whose mass is between one and 10 times that of our own planet).

One of these planets in particular could theoretically be home to life if conditions are right. It's called HD 85512 b, and scientists say it's about 3.6 times the mass of the Earth. This planet is about 35 light years from Earth. Its location with respect to its star suggests that this planet could have liquid water under certain circumstances.

Don't get too excited, though; there's a lot more work to be done to explore whether this planet is truly fit for life, in addition to whether there are alien life forms there.

The discovery comes from High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS. HARPS is located at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, and is part of a telescope that's nearly 12 feet long.

Here's how it works, according to ESO: When a planet orbits a star, the star move toward and away from the person who's stargazing on Earth in a regular fashion. That's called a change in radial velocity. Because of the Doppler effect, changes in radial velocity make the star's light spectrum move toward longer wavelengths when it's moving away, and toward shorter wavelengths as it gets closer. HARPS can detect this shift in the spectrum, and infer that there is a planet present.

So far, scientists have confirmed the existence of 564 planets outside of our solar system, according to NASA's PlanetQuest website, not counting this latest batch of more than 50. Beyond that, NASA's Kepler mission has found more than 1,200 exoplanet candidates.

"In the coming 10 to 20 years we should have the first list of potentially habitable planets in the Sun's neighbourhood. Making such a list is essential before future experiments can search for possible spectroscopic signatures of life in the exoplanet atmospheres," said Michel Mayor, who led the HARPS team, in a statement.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (1,731 Responses)
  1. The Ding Dong Goes...

    duhhh, why are we uhhhh, wasting money on looking at stuff in space when we should be looking at... problems in the backyard. It's all political man!!! Tea Party for the end to all telescopes and hearken back to the days of flat Earth!

    PHYSICS SUCKS! Transfer all funds overseas and to hurrican katrina NOW

    September 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  2. Max

    Truth is even if there are all these other planets there is NO WAY we humans would get there. GOD simply made it that way.. People forget to think about what happens to us when we go to space, We lose muscle no matter what, the sheer time would take too long, we would have been died and not even get through1% of the way.. Oh and even if we could move at the speed of light you would figure we would have some type of spacecraft accident smashing into some meteor or something.. It start with Earth and will end with Earth.. You agree?

    September 14, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  3. cj rossi

    Perhaps it would be easier to just build bio-domes on Mars?

    September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  4. Max

    Truth is even if there are all these other planets there is NO WAY we humans would get there. GOD simply made it that way.. People forget to think about what happens to us when we go to space, We lose muscle no matter what, the sheer time would take too long, we would have been died and not even get through 1% of the way.. Oh and even if we could move at the speed of light you would figure we would have some type of spacecraft accident smashing into some meteor or something.. It starts with Earth and will end with Earth.. You agree? To travel at the speed of light and steer of of the way to not be instantly destroyed is not as easy and steering your car out of the way to avoid an accident.. Oh you think we would be able to blaze out at over 300k mles/sec and then slowdown to move outta the way. Please!!! Really use your brain and you will know we as humans do have limitations. A lot of you are just ignorant..

    September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  5. Mike

    The Bible isn't intended to explain everything in science. It's an inspired book that explains how to have a personal relationship with God, and how to get to heaven / avoid hell. Genesis describes paradise (perfection) lost and Revelation is when it's restored back to perfection. Everything in between shows how God (Jesus) intervened to save humanity from it's sin, or simply put, redemption. Science has never disproved one ounce of what the Bible states, nor was the Bible ever intended to explain everything in science. It's foolish to argue otherwise.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • capnmike

      What a crock of nonsense. There isn't any "god"...it's a fairytale that humans invented. All that blather about "sin" is just a way to control your mind...apparently they have done a good job controlling yours.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:05 am |
      • Mike

        ...and this verse addresses your recent comment: Rom 1: 18-32

        September 14, 2011 at 11:08 am |
      • Mike

        18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[a] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
        21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

        24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

        28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  6. capnmike

    Surely on one of these planets there exists a race of beings who would consider our excess population a tasty source of protein.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  7. Austin

    OH Great ! Now IP v6 is going to run out af address space, well now what do we do.
    If you are not a tech person you will not get this.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  8. Tonelok

    @Michael
    There are just waiting for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones to stop making movies about it.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  9. Max

    Truth is even if there are all these other planets there is NO WAY we humans would get there. GOD simply made it that way.. People forget to think about what happens to us when we go to space, We lose muscle no matter what, the sheer time would take too long, we would have been died and not even get through 1% of the way.. Oh and even if we could move at the speed of light you would figure we would have some type of spacecraft accident smashing into some meteor or something.. It starts with Earth and will end with Earth.. Moving at the speed of light do you think a spacecraft would avoid hitting anything? Its not as easy to steer as you woul dthink for a car. We humans do have limitations and going to one of these far a$% planets is one of them..Really think about it,,,,,What you think it will be so easy to travel at light speed??? and then slow down to perform maintenance? A lot of you are highly ignorant.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • capnmike

      If you actually believe there is some kind of "god", it is YOU who are truly ignorant.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:01 am |
      • Mike

        Actually, 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 clearly states that you are the one who is ignorant.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |
      • Mike

        18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
        “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
        and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”[a]

        20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21 Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22 It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23 So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

        24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles,[b] Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • Max

        So how do you explain all the things to have come to be in existence? What you things all the elements, uniques DNA structures for all things created just came out of the BIg Bang? Ok then what packed all that into what woul dbe the BIG Bang. Just looks at everything.. plants, space, the sly, the earth, all the materials, celluar organisms, and know they all were programmed/created that way by a higher power which is GOD. Have you ever seen a computer viruses which was programmed that created itself from nothing? Even with the notion of eveolution. Why don't we see any semi evolded chimps? Because there is no eveolution to this scale. Just slight modifications but not like monkeys morphing into humans... Everything was created by GOD and designed how he wanted it to be.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:10 am |
      • Mike

        It's amazing how the simple lessons of the Bible correspond with logic, common sense, and the proof that we see every day in creation, yet goofy Darwinists and evolutionists come up with the most absurd rationale for human existence and development: basically going from the goo to you via the zoo! Has anyone ever read some of the nonsense that these people teach and believe. It's laughable...

        September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  10. Jesse

    Name one of them Reach! Then name the next one Colbert!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  11. EK

    There are no so called planets. There is one earth. Then the sky, with the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky.

    They(sun, moon and stars) are for signs, seasons, days and years.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  12. john

    Unless you develope Warp Drive, you may as well forget about them.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  13. Michael

    May I humbly suggest an alternative: That there are millions of highly advanced civilizations out in the universe, many of whom are RIGHT NOW nearby, watching us and waiting. Many are on the surface with us, hidden, disguised or simply blending in. And the biggest kicker of all is that they are waiting for the perfect, divine moment to reveal themselves and begin the process of transforming us into a galactic culture, free of conflict, poverty or war. And its about to happen NOW.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • capnmike

      Sounds fine, but I am not gonna hold my breath. I'd advise you to go back to your comic books.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  14. Tonelok

    @Jell
    Light speed is 186,000 miles per second. 1 light year covers a distance of rougly 5.878×10^12 miles.
    .
    Even at a speed equal to the maximum speed mathmatically possible (Excluding worm-hole theory) it would take 35 years to reach this planet. So, if we use the Helios craft as an example of our current speed limits of space craft(Launched in the 70's) and has a current speed of 150,000mph, or 41.6 miles per second... At that rate, it would take 4,473 years to travel one(1) light year.
    .
    Meaning it would take 156,555years to reach this new planet.
    .
    "Ark" style spacecraft where and entire colony(hundreds of thousands of people) is the only viable way to reach such a planet. Hopefully it wouldn't take 150,000 years with future tech.
    .
    Someone wanted the math breakdown of the distance, here it is.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  15. Belgarath

    This is good news! The real questions I want to know are: 1) where are we with faster than light travel? 2) Can dark matter/energy be used to move us thru space at FTL speeds? 3) have they yet isolatged the boson (sp?) "gravity" particle?
    Einstein got us started yet now new discoveries have been announced. We have found numerous exoplanets yet no means to get there. This may not happen in my lifetime (I wish!) but are we making any progress for deep space travel?

    September 14, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I know a few of these....
      Scientists are working on FTL drives, they have a few good ideas with bending space or just making gravity wells and a few other things that might work, but there is no way to implement them at this time. Not without better control of gravity.
      I doubt that dark energy or dark matter will help. We don't even know what dark energy really is and dark matter could just be other planets or black holes that we can't see because they aren't giving off light. So as of right now they aren't useful.
      Scientists have not yet found the Higgs Boson particle yet. Although they are looking for it right now at the LHC at CERN. They're pretty sure they should be able to find it there. It will take them a little while but they should know whether or not they have it within the next few years.

      So no FTL drives yet, but I'm hopeing they figure it out within my lifetime.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  16. barackobama

    How long before the first Wal-Mart opens there? Can't wait!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  17. Mobilearea51

    i wonder if the aliens have a heaven and hell or a god and a satan.....or if the alien have UFO's they can't explain.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  18. Not Fat

    Did God create these planets before or after he made the earth 6000 years ago?

    September 14, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  19. petercha

    I hope that humans someday develop the means to travel to, and colonize, these other planets.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  20. Mobilearea51

    dude there's an alien...........

    September 14, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  21. Captain Malcolm Reynolds

    Take my love, take my land
    Take me where I cannot stand...

    September 14, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  22. Matt Bailey

    This new planet will be "seeded" with life. Just as our space brothers did to earth...

    September 14, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  23. افلام سكس

    سعودي كول by بنات كول

    September 14, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  24. Mobilearea51

    it would be cool to see the paranormal events on that planet...if any.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  25. Mickey

    mind blowing, too bad ill be dead by than.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Not Fat

      But you might learn to spell.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  26. Vinnie R.

    Watched a program last night. A highly regaurded scientist with vast knowledge on the subject said "I would estimate that we will find intelligent life sometime over the next 20 years." However with todays technology multiplying at the rate it has been I feel we will be making contact or atleast finding evidence of life beyond our own in a much shorter time frame. I'm no scientist, but we all have our "gut-instinct" and mine is telling me that we are headed towards a life-altering event. -Good luck and God bless

    September 14, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • barackobama

      That will be a very interesting time, indeed. However the place scientists don't need to begin looking for intelligent life is Washington, DC.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  27. Lexie

    LOL @ all the comments. Especially the ones by Yetl37. Gave me something interesting to read while re searching something to write for my journalism class.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  28. infidel_actual

    Hey look!!! It's HEAVEN!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  29. Earl J Henderson

    Dibs!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  30. jason

    I hear alien people are HOT!! Those big pointy ears and oblong-shaped heads, lol!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  31. bahminj

    Religion -SPECIFIC -Fundamental set of beliefs and practices generallyagreed upon by a number of persons or sect.
    There are other worlds that are inhabited by other beings. JOB 1 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD,
    Science ~ the purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality.
    Darwin~ admitted that his own theory was flawed due to the lack Of fossil evidence.

    Best explanation of the big bang theory
    12-years-old, Jacob Barnett is a genius. He’s already in college, his IQ is higher than Einstein’s, and for fun he‘s working on an expanded version of that man’s theory of relativity. So far, the signs are good. Professors are astounded. So what else does a boy genius with vast brilliance do in his free time? Disprove the big bang, of course.
    “There are two different types of when stars end. When the little stars die, it’s just like a small poof. They just turn into a planetary nebula. But the big ones, above 1.4 solar masses, blow up in one giant explosion, a supernova,” Jake said. “What it does, is, in larger stars there is a larger mass, and it can fuse higher elements because it’s more dense.”
    “So you get all the elements, all the different materials, from those bigger stars. The little stars, they just make hydrogen and helium, and when they blow up, all the carbon that remains in them is just in the white dwarf; it never really comes off.
    “So, um, in the big-bang theory, what they do is, there is this big explosion and there is all this temperature going off and the temperature decreases really rapidly because it’s really big. The other day I calculated, they have this period where they suppose the hydrogen and helium were created, and, um, I don’t care about the hydrogen and helium, but I thought, wouldn’t there have to be some sort of carbon?”

    BEst explanation of creation by the Creator Job 38- 41… note the naming if the stars
    Belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs may be religious, philosophical, ideological or a combination of these

    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.1 COR 2:14
    • “the universe (including time itself) can be shown to have had a beginning.
    • It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist without a cause.
    • The universe therefore requires a cause, just as Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 teach.
    • God, as creator of time, is outside of time. Since therefore He has no beginning in time, He has always existed, so doesn’t need a cause.” JS

    September 14, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • petercha

      I wish there was a "like" or "thumbs up" button in here – I click it for this post.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Mike

      It's amazing how the simple lessons of the Bible correspond with logic, common sense, and the proof that we see every day in creation, yet goofy Darwinists and evolutionists come up with the most absurd rationale for human existence and development: basically going from the goo to you via the zoo! Has anyone ever read some of the nonsense that these people teach and believe. It's laughable...

      September 14, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  32. sweetteas

    Great, we we've discovered what appear to be potentially habitable planets 10 times the size of Earth...that's funny. God gives us the intelligence to discover this but also the intelligence to delete ourselves from existence with the creation of the nuclear bomb...but, you gotta give him/her/it credit for humor!! Lol!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • petercha

      The Bible always uses the male pronoun when talking about God. I've read it 8 times from cover to cover.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • jason

        Good for you. You should read it a 9th time and you'll see that it doesn't matter what you call it.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  33. Fresh Prince

    "Don't get too excited, though; there's a lot more work to be done to explore whether this planet is truly fit for life" - BUT! I already had my pants down. What I do now, CNN?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  34. kerry

    16 more earths on the loose
    what the girls look like

    September 14, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  35. Lux Vera Umbra

    If we were to try and colonize another planet with or without inhabitants it would fail big time because world leaders would be fighting over who controls what land on the new world.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Sci-Fi is here now

      And then it will be like Dune.....I want my sonic weapons.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  36. AngryBird

    Its congress vacation getaway.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  37. Event Horizon

    I hope these exoplanets are huge because some of you are big idiots. You should listen to THISPLANETISDYING posted Sept. 14, 2011. The planets population has doubled in 34 years. So think about you morons. From the time man walked upright to the early 80's the population was about 3.5 billion and it has taken only 34 years to double. With some of the comments I've read, I think some of you have yet to walk upright.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Sci-Fi is here now

      Event Horizon WINS................FLAWLESS VICTORY!!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  38. Skegeeace

    In theory, could, maybe, might...whatever. Call me when you find out whether we can actually live there so I know there'l be a backup planet I could live on if this one goes to Hades.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  39. whoami

    You know what the residents of those planets will say when we show up...there goes the neighborhood!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • sweetteas

      HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  40. Acequeryda

    Planets on the ground...Planets on the ground..Lookin' like a FOOL with your Plantes on the ground.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  41. douglasjames

    This is no joking (jocking) matter! lol

    September 14, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  42. The Boss

    If they are looking back at us right now one thing you can be sure of : they aren't watching "Intelligent Life"

    September 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  43. qwertyALPHA

    Lets send Barack HUSSEIN Obama and bunch of liberal supporters to one of these super earths to build a socialist utopia!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • petercha

      Love it, Qwerty!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  44. Pedro

    You damned Americans! This is Chile's discovery!!! Viva La Raza del Chile, and the rest of fing South America – INCLUDING BRAZIL and the Amazon Basin – WE OWN YOU. WE ARE IN CONTROL. I don't care about your stupid dopler theories. I don't care about how the earth moves or what happens when we fuel our cars with gas. All I give a rats ass about is more cocaine for me, and more power for my amigos. Ju got that, SAAAA! or no?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  45. navi

    This planet is 36 Light years away which literally means that even if you travel by the speed of light you can reach over there in 36 years. We don't have anything even close to that speed and anything traveling by speed is not possible theoretically. Therefore, looking at other planet and thinking of making it home is just dreaming. Instead, we should be conservative in use of resources on mother earth and keep it livable for generations to come.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
    • Atomic-E

      Why must we insist on thinking we, humans, have to be the ones to invent the technology to travel through space and it'll take us too long and be near impossible? What if the technology already exists? (maybe the technology hasn't come to part of the universe and/or planet, yet...)

      Consider this. What if aliens have or will visit and share their technology with us? (I know, "do aliens even exist?" is the question), but maybe these planet discoveries increase the possibility of them existing, and therefore sharing their technology sooner than later. Our chances of space travel could happen quicker than one might assume with alien influence. yes? no? The possibility seems to be increasing....

      September 14, 2011 at 9:32 am |
      • Navi

        My point is not that technology of that kind is not at all possible in any scenario. Of course, one shouldn't limit the possibility of anything as in science "Impossible is nothing". As you have also pointed out that Aliens (If they exist and technically much more advanced than us) can help us (They can destroy us as well). My point is it might require a lot of investment, resources and many years to reach at that stage where we can think of moving to another livable planet. By that time, if we continue to treat our planet like the way we are treating now, we might not even exist. Therefore, first priority should be to keep our planet livable for as long as we can and use its resources wisely.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • petercha

      Navi, check out the idea of a multi-generational starship.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:40 am |
      • Navi

        Idea of multi-generational ship is theoretically fascinating but then ask me if I wanna go on that ship for some unknown and living my whole life on ship. I wouldn't go for that. That too has to be proved scientifically that such ship can exist practically.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  46. fscottfitzgerald

    CNN wouldn't post my comment. Scared of a little language?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  47. MM

    Step right up folks... Get in on a ground floor opportunity.... I am selling tracts of land on this new planet for a low introductory offer of $100 per acre. You won't find land this cheap anywhere on Earth. Buy 1 or 2, maybe 10 acres. Build your dream home, retire, leave it for your grandchildren. Send me the money and I'll send you the title within 7 days.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  48. Diane Smith

    So – we learn how to get to another planet then frell it up just like we've frelled this one up. Is that the plan?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:23 am |
  49. Shells

    Shells 1:1 Thou shalt stop reading the false book of Mormon, and read the Bible. Joseph Smith is not Jesus, isn't even close to being a "god" and is a false prophet. He is an anti-christ.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  50. HD 85512 b

    We are the borg – Resistance is futile – You will be assimilated.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  51. Key

    Nice... we can't afford to feed children in the world, and these ppl are spending all this money to find a planet that all the rich and elite can run on so the undesirables can be left here to rot! SAY NO TO THE NWO!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • SkekLach

      If you are trolling, then well played, I lolled uncontrollably. If you are not, then please put yourself in a mental hospital or prison where your stupidity can't endanger those around you.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  52. cd bell

    This is great. Can we send Obama and all of his Socialist zombies there?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • petercha

      Good point, cd!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  53. Nasa is a waste of money and time.

    And this is going to going to help us how? As we all know gang members are so interested in Astronomy that they'll put down their guns and drugs once we confirm there is another earth out in space some where.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • petercha

      Welfare is a waste of time and money.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  54. ken w leach

    35 light years away.? So if anybody's listening on the super earth they could be receiving TV broadcast in the seventies,Laverne and Shirley, the Bionic Woman, the Waltons, Good Times, Land of the Lost. Hee-Haw, Soultrain, and Lawrence Welk. They'll either destroy us or stay away for ever.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • MM

      Hey, they might be watching the Waltons, John Boy, Billy Bob, etc.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • petercha

      TV shows back then were much better than the ones now. The Waltons was a good, wholesome show, for example.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  55. Reemo

    "One of these planets in particular could theoretically be home to life if conditions are right."

    That's like saying, "The Moon could theoretically be home to life assuming the Moon has a dense, Earth-like atmosphere, oceans of water, grass, trees, oxygen, and animals."

    September 14, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Reemo

      In related news, while scientitsts were pleasuring themselves to the sight of "possibly, could be, but probably not" Earth-like planets over 30 lightyears away, they've completely overlooked the asteroid less than 1 lightyear away that's headed straight to Earth.

      "This is somewhat unfortunate," said Professor D'Oofus. "But on a positive note, if we survive the asteroid impact we'll spend the next several million years re-evolving back to human form and someday be able to actually travel to these planets and find out if they're actually planets! I'm so excited, you should feel my nipples!"

      September 14, 2011 at 9:25 am |
      • Atomic-E

        Again, Why must we insist on thinking we, humans, have to be the ones to invent the technology to travel through space and it'll take us too long and be near impossible? What if the technology already exists? (maybe the technology hasn't come to part of the universe and/or planet, yet...)

        Consider this. What if aliens have or will visit and share their technology with us? (I know, "do aliens even exist?" is the question), but maybe these planet discoveries increase the possibility of them existing, and therefore sharing their technology sooner than later. Our chances of space travel could happen quicker than one might assume with alien influence. yes? no? The possibility seems to be increasing...

        September 14, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  56. lefty avenger

    Good news, maybe some of us in the future will be able to leave this planet of republicans and democrats and try something else!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  57. theWise

    Real Thinkers read this and can't help but think, as always – uh, Bushitler perped 9/11 for oil, causing all the bad AGW, and JFK was shot by the CIA, while their offspring hate/adore Gaga and Bieber as gods, to the death, on youtube.

    Thanks to their infinite wisdom mankind will someday soon travel to foreign places on solar panels made of recycled cardboard, imbibing nothing but pot, leaving nothing but "good" smoke.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  58. Nick

    Funny in that once we find a planet and can actually get there (which barring faster-than-light motivation, isn't ever gonna happen), we assume that whatever indigenous life that's already there will A: welcome us, B: be some sort of animal we can kill and turn into hamburger C: not attack us immediately, like we would to any visitors to earth. All the movies are nonsense. If an actual UFO showed up here, we'd welcome it with missiles, not "we come in peace."

    September 14, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  59. parasite of the earth

    you know when you watch a movie about then evil aliens taking over our world and running the resources dry and killing everything..? yea, thats US! were the bad aliens who use up our own planet then take over other's to bleed it dry... we are the parasites of the world

    September 14, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Nick

      But the parasites say....NO! -Andrew Ryan

      September 14, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  60. Tim

    Is there no supervision of the comments here? I was so glad to see CNN develop this Light Years site, but the children (actual or not) comenting here cheapen it. Set up an approval process please.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • agonyflips

      Kim Jong-un, is working on the approval process as we speak.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  61. Nev

    Sheesh imagine the cost of a flight on a Super Earth? We'd never get anywhere!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  62. Ripley

    I am not going, so don't ask!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  63. Jon

    Okay folks, here's the scoop:
    It was Noah Webster who took the Us out of all those words. (I guess he thought they were more colorfl.)
    "Their" is the third person plural possessive, not "there".
    "Your" is the second person possessive. You're is the contraction of "you are".
    Earth ROTATES on its axis; it REVOLVES around the sun.
    Covering vast distances can be done if we just figure out how to look in four dimensions. (That's one old Noah missed.)

    September 14, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • theWise

      Whats evolving here is Internet English, created by a global committee of international Web users, including the chronically and ever-critically thinking Euros, so its all good.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Four dimensional travel sounds like a good idea, but there is no garuntee that it would be any faster. If the fourth dimension is another spacial dimension there is nothing saying that the distance between the place we're leaving and the place we want to go will be shorter, it might be, but it also might be the same distance or even longer.

      It all really depends on how our universe is wrapped around this fourth dimension. Could be helpful for space travel, could be a waste of time. Although it would come in handy when I run out of closet space, just shove some of it in the fourth dimension to pick up later.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  64. Evan

    nicely written. nice style. for what it's worth. And oh yes, I think this early discovery may have provided us with the Tea Party's new headquarters location.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Xerxes 2010

      lmao!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  65. Xerxes 2010

    So if 1 LightYear is approx 5.7 Trillion Miles and the planet is 35 LightYears from earth, that means its 199.5 Trillion Miles from earth, well, guess i better go to the bathroom before my trip. I'll drive all the way there, non-stop, dont need to carpool, ETA: Never!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  66. Sindhi

    There is no such thing as life on other planets other than Earth. It is what we are addicted to fantasy and live in it.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Xerxes 2010

      Even if we shipped humans in a capsole that were able to sustain sleep and incubation until they reached that planet, umm who would be there to open us up and press 'Start'. Or we set the timer wrong lol

      September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Atomic-E

      They once thought that the "world being round" was mere fantasy. Do you have proof that there isn't life out there?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:39 am |
  67. Zim

    LIES! The filthy earthscum meatbags LIEEEEEE! There are no aliens! Certainly no alien invaders coming to destroy you all. Of course not! >:0

    EARTH SCUMMMMM!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      OF COURSE I'M A HUMAN WORM BABY!! JUST LOOK AT MY NECK!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  68. Toad

    Yes!! I love artist's renditions!! Planets never looked so cool. Put it on a mirror and let me win it at the next carnival that comes to town!!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • agonyflips

      Naw, in Black Velvet being held in Elvis' hand.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Jose V.

      Yep! That is all scientists have left in the bag – artist renditions and Hollywood 'physics' that will never come true. So that is all that is left for humanity: count the number of planets, more pretty renditions and moronic Hollywood sci-fi flics. Pathetic.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  69. the truth is out there

    just throwing this out there....but who is to say that maybe god was a scientist...just saying

    September 14, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • agonyflips

      Maybe he/she's a computer geek. Like the virtual world of computers is all pixels, the world we live in is all sub atomic elements that might all be controlled by a giant super computer.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  70. Jose V.

    What's the point of all this research – besides entertainment. We never are going to get to any of them to explore.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • oldeye

      It's called the human curiosity. It's in our DNA. You are curious to had what others think.
      That's why you posted. I am also curious about what you will say again. You get it? Comprendes?

      September 14, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  71. Steelcity

    If they can use telescopes to search for life then why can't I use binoculars to search for a wife?

    September 14, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Jon

      If you do happen to find one, let me know if she has a twin sister.

      September 14, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  72. Jason

    This is mildly interesting. But, there is no real reason to think that any of these planets are habitable. Basically, what this article is saying is that we can't yet completely rule them out. And as for alien life forms? Come on... the odds of life developing on any particular planet are vanishingly small. Sure, since there are billions of planets, there may well be life somewhere else in the universe, but right next door? Unlikely.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  73. agonyflips

    Well I'm not gonna wait anymore, I guess I'm going have to build my own space ship using propulsion method proposed under Dyson Freeman's original Project Orion. It'll go at least 1/10C and even being huge can launch off the ground. Need to get investors and a country that hasn't signed nuclear treaty of 1963. Maybe North Korea?
    Sure invest in DPRK, sounds secure.....

    September 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  74. Demios

    So, let me get this straight. The closest one is 35 light years away, sure that's very practical distances in terms of how fast we can travel now. lol. Go ahead humanity, make this an excuse to further polluting up our planet.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • agonyflips

      Technically, we have the knowledge to travel at great speeds. But no one is willing to try and launch a nuclear (that's nucular for those in the south) propulsion device apart from basically nuclear decay batteries, like in voyager 1, which use tiny amounts of nuclear fuel. They're worried about a crash and polluting the atmosphere, and if it's nuclear driven from the ground, of it damaging Van Allen belt or satellites in orbit–at least in the case of huge rocket concepts like Orion.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:45 am |
      • Revolutionary

        lol crazy bush. lol

        September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Atomic-E

      Demios, Why must we insist on thinking we, humans, have to be the ones to invent the technology to travel through space and it'll take us too long and be near impossible? What if the technology already exists? (maybe the technology hasn't come to part of the universe and/or planet, yet...)

      Consider this. What if aliens have or will visit and share their technology with us? (I know, "do aliens even exist?" is the question), but maybe these planet discoveries increase the possibility of them existing, and therefore sharing their technology sooner than later. Our chances of space travel could happen quicker than one might assume with alien influence. yes? no? The possibility seems to be increasing...

      September 14, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  75. oldeye

    Horay for the "discovery". I alway knew that we will go to the planet of our choice when we are
    freed from our current physical bondage. All of those who believe life ends with the body think again.
    We all will travel the universe until we find the right planet to live forever. It's good to know that there are
    infinite(I hope, that is.) numbers of habitable planets in the universe for us to go to. This way, we can
    choose the planet where everything will be just perfect for each of us. Isn't it grand!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:31 am |
  76. Boka

    Christians still think the universe revolves around the earth.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • oldeye

      This maybe true and yet to be proven.
      Are you jealous of the Christians? Sometimes, it's better to have than to not have.
      Even a belief. Like anything else, you do need to hold on to something.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:33 am |
      • I'm The Best!

        Screw that, let go and start the free fall. It's more fun.

        September 14, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  77. suprizedIexist

    like a child whos eyes are too big for its stomach look at all the place I could go but never will, wish they would stop looking and put up the cash to make a trip to mars it about time a flag got raised there and maybe a colony our coms are good enough now, ahh what am I talking bout as if thats gonna happen even if it is possible

    September 14, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  78. Jennipher Williams

    @Pat: AMEN!! Our Creator is awesome!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  79. James Matthew Carter of Hillsboro, OH.

    I've been to the super earth before.. they thought I was a god. I showed them how to make several different types of cars. Anyways, my best friend is George Lucas.. he got his ideas for Star Wars over there at that there Super Earth. Makes ours look shitty. I met Elvis over there too, your 30 years younger on the planet. Oh and it's real name is Shaalabuhmdada.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  80. Lets go!

    OK, I'll go and procure the waterfront property. If Im first there, I claim presidency and no taxes there. No rich no poor, just live and enjoy life. Maybe Jimmy Buffet will do a free concert there too. How simple would life be.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
  81. adam shaw

    This was found by a European observatory and people are saying "its Obamas fault?" Weird

    September 14, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  82. adam shaw

    This was found by a European conservatory and people are saying "its Obamas fault?" Weird

    September 14, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  83. Pamela

    Perhaps we should consider fixing this place up a little. A little renovation before we consider thinking of inhabiting other planets and fucking them up too. What about the natives? Are we going to give them fire water and blow them to smithereens if they don't leave? Perhaps we should consider coexisting here.... just a thought. OH, and stop having Welfare babies.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Pamela

      Oh.... we're already there. These planets must be inhabited by Mormon Gods and Godesses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxWm9UBLo-s

      September 14, 2011 at 8:28 am |
      • blickelgorban

        wow want a fail dude

        September 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  84. JohnCBarclow

    Too bad all this money and talent aren't being used to solve real problems of disease, hunger, and strife on this planet. Instead it is being used to win a philosophical debate that doesn't really matter.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • Sci-Fi is here now

      JohnCBarclow WINS!!!!!................FLAWLESS VICTORY!!!!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  85. LuisWu

    Just gaining the knowledge that there are other planets out there, orbiting other suns is in itself worth knowing. Knowing that some have conditions that are similar to Earth and might support life is even more worth knowing. No, we can't go there right now but we might communicate with them by radio if they're there and sometime in the future we might go there. But that's really beside the point. The point is, other planets are out there. Other solar systems, other planets in the life zone of their star. It's well worth knowing.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  86. Jennipher Williams

    I marvel how God has created so much on (and beyond) planet earth to keep us humans busy (and guessing). I love the science of astronomy and find all the planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, etc. absolutely fascinating and can't watch enough documentaries. However, I can't help but wonder if we ever discover life or aliens on other planets, then what??? - be friends? Outsource? Start another political party? Plan a hostile takeover? Yeah right...they're probably waiting on us (Apollo 18?) First one there is a rotten egg! (for real)

    September 14, 2011 at 8:23 am |
  87. suprizedIexist

    Ah but r u sure that the faction of time the human race exists that we will meet these aliens space has existed for a very long time and the blip that is the human race will be the ones to find life on other planets, I dont say that there isnt life just we will never meet it

    September 14, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  88. bob

    The only fact in this article, is they found more planets of similar mass. Duh! And they have no proof at all that any can support life. This is such BS.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  89. Nick

    I am a highschool teacher in Michigan, and this article is an excellent way to help teach the Doppler effect. Typically we use examples related to weather or the sound waves from cars, but here is another example of the effect's practicality in astro physics. Any other teachers here?

    September 14, 2011 at 8:15 am |
  90. lol

    ha, and it will take what.....150,000 years to reach those planets ?????

    September 14, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • oldeye

      Not if you are traveling out of your physical bondage. Your mind is faster than the speed of light.
      Remember when you dream, you dream of going backwards and forwards? This proves that
      the distance do not exist when you are freed from you body. When you leave the Earth, you are free
      to travel the universe. The deal is that not all planets are pleasant. If you were no good here on Earth,
      you will end up in a worse planet. So be good here while you can. If you happen to be a terrorist,
      expect to be blown apart from one planet to the other. Your karma will repeat until you do good.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Atomic-E

      Why must we insist on thinking we, humans, have to be the ones to invent the technology to travel through space and it'll take us too long and be near impossible? What if the technology already exists? (maybe the technology hasn't come to part of the universe and/or planet, yet...)

      Consider this. What if aliens have or will visit and share their technology with us? (I know, "do aliens even exist?" is the question), but maybe these planet discoveries increase the possibility of them existing, and therefore sharing their technology sooner than later. Our chances of space travel could happen quicker than one might assume with alien influence. yes? no? The possibility seems to be increasing..

      September 14, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  91. Sir Lord

    Scotty, just in case one of these planets sustain life, prepare to beam me outta here!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  92. ughmerica

    if it does contain life lets hope its not creatures from the movie "the mist" or the game "half life" the planets could be uninhabitable due to the natural predators on it.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Religious Sects

      One well place asteroid & we're good to go!

      September 14, 2011 at 8:09 am |
  93. Todd

    Anyone notice that it is a EUROPEAN observatory that makes these groundbreaking discoveries. The U.S. has fallen so far behind in science & math funding and education, these types of discoveries are not made in the U.S.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Arcscythe

      Sorry...wrong again... we have the technology... we don't have the funding because the government is shoveling money into the pockets of their corporate masters and into the pork barrel military. Heaven forbid we spend money on social services, educaton, and science... someone might call us SOCIALISTS... oh... i love that word... SOCIALISTS!

      September 14, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  94. Gethetruth

    Most people commenting here seem to be "non scientists" or don't believe in Science, they seem to be peeping in here from the "CNN Belief" christian group and showing their ignorance and stupidity. Light Years is at fault for posting a picture of a Planet as if it is the real image. These planets are so far away that getting there is near impossible, one has to travel a the speed of light for 35 years ! But signatures of life can be detected if there is any there. If we did discover life there, the question is will people change their belief in God and creation? When life exists right here and all evidence point to no God and no creation, people still don't believe. Do we have to look for proof 35 light years away? The failure of evolutionary scientists to prove to the common man how evolution occurs is at the center of this "disbelief." What evolutionary scientists are doing is answering the question "why" evolution occurs. Natural Selection theory claims that evolution occurs because "Nature" selects. This is a serious failure, because it simply substitutes God with Nature, saying Nature does this and Nature does that. Nature is a human concept and so is God. Natural selection is not a biological process, it is only notional. "How" does evolution occur ? For evolution to occur the evolutionary mechanism must itself have evolved and must have began at the very single cell stage. The single cell is so well organized and this took 2 billion years, once the single cell got the mechanism of organization going, evolution of higher forms is pretty simple. You can find analogies in human manufacturing and organization. The natural selection evolutionary scientist begin with explaining evolution in large bisexual animals and it began with Darwin and that is why they are unable to find the mechanism. Read more in Evolutionqed.com.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • Arcscythe

      Do they need to see the planet to believe in it? How many of them have actually ever seen God? And the crazy people don't count.

      September 14, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  95. Just_Having_Fun

    Wait, wait, my mistake, the whole planet is full of worn out reality tv stars.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  96. Just_Having_Fun

    OMG – I can see the planet and its in the shape of NJ and everyone on it is fist pumping!!!

    September 14, 2011 at 7:51 am |
  97. Ken

    50 new worlds, 16 Super Earths - and Obama has a 60% or more disapproval rating on all of them. What a shame.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • suprizedIexist

      ah yes polling you have a point yes very smart yawn zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz it is connected to this topic yes you r smart any thought on what will happen to the US in 300 years time?

      September 14, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  98. CFEllis

    lancemick – -You are right, absolutely right!!!!! God and science PROVE each other. Our minds are so minute that we can't possibly understand it now, but maybe in a few hundred, thousand, etc. SOMEONE will prove this. There are worlds beyond this one, and we all had better believe it, NOW!!! Don't joke and hope it will go away.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  99. Sam Skwirl

    Problem with that is that this IS THEIR WORLD! You should go first.

    September 14, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • suprizedIexist

      religion and polling in the previous trolls go to your stories covered in other topics, oh and Im glad that your pointless speech, beleifs and political views will be wiped of the planet cause you toiled at current events 😀

      September 14, 2011 at 7:49 am |
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