Researchers found an earth-like planet in our galactic neighbourhood

Of all the 100 billion stars in our universe, the one closest to us might just be one that supports alien life, if reports of a new discovery are to be believed, reports Daily Mail.

A newly-spotted planet in our galactic neighbourhood might have the right conditions for life, according to reports.

Scientists spotted the planet, which is believed to be 'Earth-like', orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, the nearest stellar neighbour to our sun.

The researchers are due to unveil the discovery later this month and apparently believe it orbits its star at a distance that could favour life - the so-called habitable zone.

Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri star system just 4.2 light years from our own solar system.

According to Der Spiegel, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will announce the finding at the end of August. 

ESO spokesman Richard Hook said he is aware of the report, but refused to confirm or deny it. 

Proxima Centauri is is the closest star to our own. A planet orbiting the star would be the closest exoplanet to Earth.

Discovered in 1915, Proxima Centauri is one of three stars in the Alpha Centauri system, a constellation mainly visible from the southern hemisphere.

The planet is thought to be in the star's 'habitable zone' - an area around a star in which an orbiting planet's surface could hold liquid water. 

For over a century, astronomers have known about Proxima Centauri and believed it is part of a trinary star system, along with Alpha Centauri A and B.

Located just 0.237 light years from the binary pair, this low-mass red dwarf star is also 0.12 light years closer to Earth, making it the closest star system to our own. 

The report gave no further details.

Nasa has announced the discovery of new planets in the past, but most of those worlds were either too hot or too cold to host water in liquid form, or were made of gas, like our Jupiter and Neptune, rather than of rock, like Earth or Mars.

Last year, the US space agency unveiled an exoplanet that it described as Earth's 'closest-twin'.

Named Kepler 452b, the planet is about 60 per cent larger than Earth and could have active volcanoes, oceans, sunshine like ours, twice as much gravity and a year that lasts 385 days.

But at a distance of 1,400 light-years away, humankind has little hope of reaching this Earth-twin any time soon.

In comparison, the exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri, if confirmed, is just 4.24 light-years away.

This is a mere stepping stone in relation to the scale of the universe but still too far away for humans to reach in present-generation chemical rockets.

Related news

Lasă un comentariu