The “super-Earth” orbiting a nearby star which may offer the most promising target yet in the search for life beyond the Solar System.
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The first planet outside our solar system was discovered in 1995, but thanks to new techniques and especially NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope, the number of them has exploded in recent years. Astronomers have now identified 52 potentially habitable planets and more than 3,600 planets outside our solar system.Compared to Earth, the new planet is big, pushing near the size limit for rocky planets.Thirty-two of the potentially habitable planets found so far are considered super-Earth sized. The new planet was found using eight small telescopes in Chile and help from an amateur planet-hunter, Charbonneau said.In August, astronomers found that the nearest planet to Earth outside our solar system, only 25 trillion miles away, also could have the right temperature for life, but astronomers can't get a peek at its atmosphere.
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