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Earth-Like Planet a ‘Stone’s Throw Away’

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Posted on Jun 30, 2014

    A view of Earth from space. Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video (CC BY 2.0)

Astronomers have discovered a planet that appears to offer some of the most Earth-like conditions found anywhere in the galaxy.

The Independent reports:

Located just 16 light years away from our planet, Gliese 832c is a super-Earth with a mass 5.4 times that of our own planet orbiting a red dwarf star every 36 days.

This orbit means that Gliese 832c is much closer to its host star than we are to ours, but because its red dwarf star has only half the mass of our Sun the planet receives around the same amount of stellar energy as we do.

This puts Gliese 832c in the habitable or ‘Goldilocks zone’ in its solar system – a sweet spot where it is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist upon the planet’s surface.

“With an outer giant planet and an interior potentially rocky planet, this planetary system can be thought of as a miniature version of our Solar System,” said professor Chris Tinney of the University of New South Wales where the super-Earth was discovered.

“If the planet has a similar atmosphere to Earth it may be possible for life to survive, although seasonal shifts would be extreme,” he added.

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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