New planet discovered in Earth's back yard
London, October 17, 2012
Astronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone's throw away at four light years.
Researchers say it is too close to its sun to support life, with a surface temperature estimated at 1,200 degrees Celsius. But previous studies suggest that when one planet is discovered orbiting a sun there are usually others in the same system.
The new Earth-sized planet, announced in science journal Nature by Stephane Udry and Xavier Dumusque at the Geneva Observatory, orbits one of the suns in Alpa Centauri, roughly 25 trillion miles away.
"It's a landmark discovery because it's very low mass and it's our closest neighbour," said Udry.
Commenting on the find, University of California astronomer Greg Laughlin said: "This is our back yard, so to find out that planet formation occurred there is just extraordinary."
Since the discovery of the first exoplanets - those outside our solar system - in the early 1990s over 800 have been found but this is the closest to Earth.-Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader
- Onus on world powers for Syria war crimes: UN
- US, Russia set for talks on Ukraine crisis
- Brent oil drops below $109
- Services outshine manufacturing, pushing up jobs
- Bitcoin bank shut down after hacker attack
- India to kick off world's biggest poll on April 7
- China signals focus on reforms
- Hundreds ready for bitcoin exchange class action
- Space taxi, Jupiter mission in Obama budget
- Putin: Use of force last resort in Ukraine
- Powers to boost Lebanese military, economy
- Egypt bans Hamas activities in Egypt
- Putin ends army exercise, markets rally
- Russia has violated international law: Obama
- Russian markets hit as Putin tightens grip on Crimea
- Iran nuclear deal 'being implemented as planned'
- Global factory growth stumbles as demand falters
- Obama warns of 'fallout' for Israel if peace effort fails
- Ukraine mobilises after Putin's 'declaration of war'
- Oil jumps $2 over Ukraine tension
- US threatens to isolate Russia for Ukraine aggression
- Ukraine mobilises for war, calls up reserves
- Berkshire net profit surges 31pc
- China blames militants for deadly station attack
- Beginning of war? Putin ready to invade Ukraine