Earth-like Planet Capable of Supporting Life Discovered

This nearby planet could be the closest thing we have to Earth

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© 2017 PHL @ UPR Arecibo

A new Earth-like planet has been discovered 16 light years away. The planet, discovered by a group of Astronomers from the University of New South Wales in Australia is probably more similar to Earth than any other planet that has ever been discovered so far, as outlined by the Earth Similarity Index (ESI).

The planet is about five times the size of Earth, and orbits a red dwarf star (about half the size of the sun), which leads scientists to think that the planet could potentially support life, especially because the planet is said to receive the about the same amount of energy as Earth does from the sun. This makes it fall into the ‘habitable zone’, which means that it has the strong possibility of supporting water on its surface. As well as this, the planet is “just a stone's throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things,” according to Space.com's Mike Wall.

The newly discovered planet has an orbital period of 36 days and it has been named Gleise 832c, a name which follows the planet Gliese 832b, which is a cold Jupiter-like planet found in 2009.. Scientists are saying that since it has a similar terrestrial atmosphere, the temperatures on the planet are likely to mirror those of Earth’s, apart from some larger seasonal shifts. It has been noted that if the planet does have a denser atmosphere, which has often been expected for Super-Earths, it could make this planet too hot for life. Watch this space.