Astronomers have discovered a new Super-Earth, which could have the same climate as our planet and have the ability to support life.

This international team of astronomers led by Mikko Tuomi, University of Hertfordshire, and Guillem Anglada-Escude, University of Goettingen, found the super-Earth in the habitable zone (called the Goldilocks Zone) of a nearby solar system, where conditions are just right to sustaine liquid water and an Earth-like climate. With a mass approximately seven times more than our planet, it is one of six revolving around a star known as HD 40307, about forty-four light-years away.

A previous discovery from scientists using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope discovered a Super-Earth around 600 light years away, so the significance of finding a habitable planet more than 15 times closer to us cannot be understated.

"Discoveries like this are really exciting, and such systems will be natural targets for the next generation of large telescopes, both on the ground and in space." David Pinfield of University of Hertfordshire commented.

Source: Habitable-zone super-Earth candidate in six-planet system around the K2.5V star HD 40307 (PDF)

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