Super-Earth' Planet May Support Life - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Super-Earth' Planet May Support Life

Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com Photo courtesy: Yahoo.com

YAHOO.COM - Astronomers have detected an alien planet that may be capable of supporting life as we know it — and it's just a stone's throw fromEarth in the cosmic scheme of things.

The newfound exoplanet, a so-called "super-Earth" called HD 40307g, is located inside its host star's habitable zone, a just-right range of distances where liquid water may exist on a world's surface. And the planet lies a mere 42 light-years away from Earth, meaning that future telescopes might be able to image it directly, researchers said.

"The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life," study co-author Hugh Jones, of the University of Hertfordshire in England, said in a statement. "Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable."

HD 40307g is one of three newly discovered worlds around the parent star, which was already known to host three planets. The finds thus boost the star's total planetary population to six. click here to read more

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