Astronomers Discover Planet That May Support Life

Astronomers Discover Planet That May Support LifeCredit: University of Hertfordshire

A group of astronomers from the U.S., U.K., Chile and Australia have discovered a planet close to a Sun-like star that may be capable of supporting life.

Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, the scientists found a group of planets of varying size orbiting a nearby star called Tau Ceti. The planet in question inhabits what's known as the "habitable zone," the area around a large star in which planets are able to maintain the correct pressure to have water on its surface. 

Tau Ceti is 12 light years from Earth, close enough, astronomers believe, for us to soon more closely study it and the five planets that surround it. 

"Tau Ceti is one of our nearest cosmic neighbors and so bright that we may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not-too-distant future," said James Jenkins of the Universidad de Chile and a member of the astronomy team.

Jenkins also added that planetary systems like this have proven to be common in the Milky Way galaxy.

[via Computer World]

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