Astronomers have discovered another potentially habitable planet–that’s 7 times the mass of Earth. Six planets orbit dwarf star HD 40307g, and one of them is believed have the potential to support human life.

The planet seems to be rotating on its own axis, instead of having one face permanently turned toward its sun, meaning it has an Earth-like day and night cycle. This is a major indicator of potential life. Also, it orbits at a distance of 55.8 million miles from its sun, which puts it in its host star’s habitable zone, where liquid water can exist on a planet’s surface.

It’s close by (space travel-wise, anyway)–only 44 light years away. It’s so close that astronomers may be able to spy on it with telescopes.
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A system of planets has been discovered in the constellation Cygnus orbiting a double star. It was not thought that this was possible, and planetary scientists are saying that it will lead to a complete revision of our understanding of how planets are formed. It means that they may be even more numerous than we thought, making life all but inevitable elsewhere in the universe.
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An Earth-like planet recently spotted outside our solar system is the first that atromomers have found that could support liquid water and harbor life.

Liquid water is what astronomers look for, and the newly found planet is located at the perfect distance from its sun—just the right distance so that the water on its surface doesn’t freeze or vaporize.

The new planet is about 50% bigger than Earth and about five times more massive. It’s called Gliese 581 C, after its star, Gliese 581, a small red dwarf star that is about one-third as massive as the Sun.
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