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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finally! An Earth Sized Planet in the Goldilocks Zone

For decades astronomers have been searching for a world like our own outside the solar system that could host alien life. 
And now astronomers have announced that they have found one - a planet 1.1 times the size of Earth orbiting a star just 490 light years away. 
Called Kepler-186f, the planet is the first to be discovered with the right conditions for liquid water to exist on its surface, meaning it could support alien life as well.

It is the fifth and outermost world of the planetary system around red dwarf star Kepler-186 and is almost certainly a rocky planet.
 
The find is significant because it is the first Earth-sized world we’ve found in the habitable zone of a star. 
Habitable zones, also known as ‘Goldilocks zones’, are regions around a star where the temperature is just right for water to form. 
Earth, for example, sits almost bang in the middle of our sun’s habitable zone.
Although previously we have found exoplanets (worlds outside the solar system) in these zones, none have been the same size as Earth.

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