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article imageDatabase of 700+ exoplanets available online as habitable catalog

By Andrew Moran     Dec 5, 2011 in Science
Arecibo - More than 700 extra solar planets have been discovered since 1992. Scientists suggest that 15 exoplanets and 30 exomoons are potentially habitable, but now researchers have posted the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog online to view habitability.
Digital Journal has reported quite a few times of the latest discoveries of extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, which are planets that are discovered outside of our solar system. Exactly 707 of such planets have been discovered since 1992 as of this month.
Two of the most famous exoplanets are Gliese 581 d and HD 85512 b. Both exoplanets are classified as super-Earths and both are in the habitable zone where liquid water may exist. These planets gained international fame due to its Earth-like characteristics.
Are you interested in browsing through all of the exoplanets and exomoons? Well, now you can with the Habitable Exoplanets Catalog that was launched by the Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) at the University of Puerto Rico.
The catalog provides users with identifiable information of the objects, but also a ranking system based on different habitability indexes. It utilizes the various habitability assessments, such as the Global Primary Habitability (GPH), the Earth Similarity Index (ESI) and the Habitable Zones Distance (HZD). The website also uses classification systems and data from other databases, including the Exoplanet Data Explorer, the NASA Kepler Mission and the Extrasolar Planets Encylopedia.
“One important outcome of these rankings is the ability to compare exoplanets from best to worst candidates for life,” said director of PHL, Abel Mendez, in a press release. “New observations with ground and orbital observatories will discover thousands of exoplanets in the coming years. We expect that the analyses contained in our catalog will help to identify, organize, and compare the life potential of these discoveries.”
One expert on planetary habitability science, Jim Kasting, stated he hopes that the catalog will generate interest among the general public.
The catalog is available here.
This comes as a team of scientists found the first super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone of a star similar to the Sun. The large planet consists of a surface temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) and has an orbit of 290 days. It is located 600 light-years away from us and has a star that is only a little bit smaller than our Sun.
More about Habitable Exoplanets Catalog, Planetary Habitability Laboratory, University of Puerto Rico, Exoplanets
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