Habitable planet foundFebruary 3rd, 2012 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Feb 2 (IANS) A potentially habitable planet orbiting a nearby star has been discovered by scientists.
With an orbital period of about 28 days and a minimum mass 4.5 times that of the Earth, the planet orbits within the star’s “habitable zone”, where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface, Xinhua reported.
The researchers found evidence of at least one and possibly two or three additional planets orbiting the star, which is about 22 light-years from Earth, according to a study published Thursday in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The host star is a member of a triple-star system and has a different makeup than our Sun, with a much lower abundance of elements heavier than helium, such as iron, carbon, and silicon.
This discovery indicates that potentially habitable planets can occur in a greater variety of environment than previously believed.
Researchers from the University of California and the Carnegie Institution for Science and astronomers conducted the study.
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