Each year, the American Physical Society (APS) News sifts through the past year’s science headlines to decide which physics news garnered the most publicity worldwide. Included on this prestigious list is a collaborative observation campaign of the star Gliese 667 Cc between the Institute for Astronomy (IfA), the Carnegie Institution for Science, DTM and the University of California Santa Cruz. This collaboration includes former DTM postdoctoral fellows, Nader Haghighipour and Guillem Anglada-Escudé, alongside their former supervisor, Paul Butler.
Gliese 667 Cc is a triple-star system in the constellation of Scorpius, whose exoplanets are smaller than the Sun and orbit the star within a safe distance. In the November issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists estimate that one in five sun-like stars in the galaxy, like Gliese 667 Cc, have planets in their habitable zones, meaning there could be an inhabited planet within only 12 light-years of Earth. (PNAS)
The discovery of Gliese 667 Cc is accompanied by other extraordinary phsyics news including the detection of the new element Ununpentium and the Voyager 1 spacecraft that launched in 1977, which has now become the first manmade object to leave our solar system as of September 2013.
Anglada-Escudé was a postdoctoral fellow at DTM until 2011. He has since moved to the University of Goettingen in Germany as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Institute for Astrophysics.
Haghigghipour is now an Associate Astronomer at the IfA of the University of Hawaii at Manoa following his NASA Astrobiology Fellowship at DTM from 2001 to 2004. His research interests include the theory and observation of extrasolar planets as well as the theory around solar system dynamics and formation. He will be speaking at DTM as part of our Weekly Seminar Series on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at 2:00pm in the Greenewalt Lecture hall. His talk will cover the “Formation of Terrestrial Planets and the Origin of Mars”.