How many Earth-sized planets are out there? How many of those might support life? Answering these questions is complicated because Earth-like worlds are small, making them hard to detect. The MEarth Project — pronounced “mirth” — simplifies the problem by looking for planets orbiting small, red M dwarf stars. Potentially habitable Earth-sized planets have smaller orbits around these stars than yellow Sun-like stars, allowing MEarth to identify them. The MEarth telescopes are operated by the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian and located at the CfA’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) in Arizona and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. Astronomers have used MEarth to identify multiple planets, including the rocky planet GJ1132b.
Visit the MEarth Website