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Two Earth-like planets have been discovered in a neighboring solar system

They’re located in the “habitable zone,” where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.

The news: Researchers at the University of Göttingen have been studying a star known as "Teegarden’s star" for the last three years. They found two planets orbiting it that seem to bear some similarities to Earth and which orbit in a region where its possible there could be liquid water.

The star:  It’s one of our closest stars (a mere 12.5 light-years away) and it’s an “M dwarf”, about half as warm and roughly ten times the mass of the sun. That means potentially habitable planets would have to be closer to it, and thus orbit more quickly than in our own solar system. The two new planets were spotted using the CARMENES instrument on a telescope in Spain that looks for how an exoplanet’s gravity periodically affects a star’s light.

Obviously: The fact the planets bear similarities to our own lump of rock is tantalizing. However, there’s no way to know what their’ atmosphere is like—and so if there could be any life there—until we have more powerful telescopes. We’ll have to wait and see.

Posted Saturday, June 22, 2019