An artist's impression of the Super-Earth exoplanet HD 85512b.
- HD 85512b is 36 light years from Earth.
- The planet orbits an orange dwarf star which has around two thirds the mass of our sun.
- HD 85512b orbits in the habitable zone of its host star, an area where temperatures are warm enough to sustain liquid water.
- Atmospheric temperatures on HD 85512b are estimated to be around 24C (75F).
- Gravity on HD 85512b is estimated to be around 40% stronger than it is on Earth.
- HD 85512b is classed as a Super-Earth, which are planets that have up to 10 times the mass of Earth.
- The planet was discovered in August 2011 by a Swiss based team of scientists using the radial velocity method of detection.
- The team used data collected by the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher or HARPS, which has detected over 100 exoplanets to date.
- HARPS detects the slight wobbles of stars caused by the gravitational interactions of orbiting planets.
HD 85512b orbits in the habitable zone and could possibly sustain life.
HD 85512b OrbitHD 85512b revolves around its host star at a distance of 24 million miles (39 million km) and takes 54 days to make one complete orbit.
HD 85512b Mass and RadiusHD 85512b is estimated to have a mass around 3.6 times that of Earth, with an estimated radius of around 1.5 times that of Earth. It is one of the smallest exoplanets detected in the habitable zone of its host star.
HD 85512b HabitabilityHD 85512b is ranked in the top five of possible habitable planets outside our solar system. If the planet has a similar atmosphere to Earth then surface temperatures could allow liquid water to flow on its surface.
HD 85512b StatisticsHost Star: HD 85512
Host Star Type: Orange Dwarf - K Class
Host Star Mass: 69% of Sun
Distance from Earth: 36 light years
Planets Detected in System: 1
Discovery Date: August 17th 2011
Detection Method: Radial Velocity
Exoplanet Type: Super Earth
Mass: Around 3.6 x Earth
Diameter: Around 1.5 x Earth
Distance from host star: 24 million miles (39 million km)
Orbital Period: 54 days
Temperature: Atmospheric temperatures around 24C (75F).
Gravity: 1.4 x Earth's gravity
Possibility of Life: If HD 85512b has an Earth like atmosphere with sufficient cloud cover it is possible life could flourish on the planet.