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Newly Discovered Earth-Like Planet Is Orbiting Proxima Centauri

Aug 15, 2016 06:06 AM EDT
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Artist’s impression of the planet around Alpha Centauri B
Scientists have found an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri just a few light-years away from Earth.
(Photo : European Southern Observatory / Flickr)

 

Scientists have discovered a new Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri.

The German weekly magazine called Der Spiegel has recently unveiled the discovery of the Earth-like exoplanet, which is said to orbit within its star's habitable zone and is only 4.25 light-years away from Earth.

"The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface - an important requirement for the emergence of life," the magazine said, as reported in Phys.org.

"Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by."

The discovery was said to be made by the European Southern Discovery (ESO) using the reflecting telescope of its La Silla Observatory. The same observatory also announced the discovery of the Alpha Centauri Bb in 2012, which was then declared the closest exoplanet to Earth, Universe Today reports.

The magazine, which was written anonymously, also said that the ESO will be announcing the discovery by the end of August. But according to reports, ESO spokesman Richard Hook refused to deny or confirm the discovery. "We are not making any comment," Hook had said.

Proxima Centauri is part of the Alpha Centauri trinary star system, together with Alpha Centauri A and B. The Alpha Centauri A and B are the two brightest stars in the star system and form a close binary system, while Proxima Centauri is the dimmest star and the closest to Earth.

In 2015, NASA discovered an exoplanet called Kepler 452b, which was said to be the "most Earth-like planet" to be found so far. But the Earth-twin is located 1,400 light years away, and scientists are not too optimistic about reaching the planet anytime soon.

The Kepler mission has discovered over 4,000 exoplanet candidates since the mission began in 2009. Just this month, astronomers outlined 216 Kepler exoplanets that are located within the "habitable zone," and from that list, astronomers narrowed down to 20 rocky planets that are best second Earth candidates.

 

 

 

 

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