September 12, 2011
Zooming in on Super Earth
In this zoom sequence we start with a wide-field view of the southern Milky Way. We gradually close in on the apparently unremarkable star HD 85512 in the constellation of Vela (The Sail). Observations with the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile, have revealed that this star is orbited by a planet about 3.6 times as massive as the Earth and which lies at the edge of the habitable zone around the star, where liquid water, and perhaps even life, may exist.