WASHINGTON: International astronomers said on Thursday they had found the fourth potentially habitable planet outside our solar system with temperatures that could support water and life about 22 light-years from Earth.
The team analysed data from the European Southern Observatory about a star known as GJ 667C, which is known as an M-class dwarf star and puts out much less heat than Sun.
The new rocky planet, GJ 667Cc, orbits its star every 28.15 days — meaning its year equals about one Earth month — and has a mass at least 4.5 times that of Earth, according to the research published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
“This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it,” said Guillem Anglada-Escudi who was with the Carnegie Institution for Science when he conducted the research.
French astronomers in May last year confirmed the first exoplanet, Gliese 581d, to meet key requirements for sustaining life.
Swiss astronomers reported in August that another planet, HD 85512 b, seemed to be in the habitable zone of its star. Nasa confirmed its first such planet late last year, Kepler 22b.—AFP