|Artist’s impression of the Tau Ceti system Picture credit: J. Pinfield for the RoPACS network at the University of Hertfordshire, 2012.|
The international team of astronomers led by Mikko Tuomi and Hugh Jones, from the University’s Centre for Astrophysics Research, developed a new method to detect signals half the size previously thought possible – improving the sensitivity of searches for small planets.
The five planets around Tau Ceti are estimated to have minimum masses between two and six times that of the Earth. The planet of great interest is the one which may lie in the habitable zone of the star and has a mass around five times that of Earth.
Planets in orbit around the nearest Sun-like stars are particularly valuable. With Tau Ceti being so bright and so close to Earth, we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not too distant future!