Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Earth-Sized Worlds Found

Astronomers have confirmed the discovery of two Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting a star similar to the Sun that is 950 light years away. The two have 0.87 and 1.03 times the mass of Earth.

Alas, neither is in the habitable zone of the star; both orbit extremely close to the star. They are, therefore, almost certainly barren-- unbearably hot, and without atmospheres. That said, astronomers believe the worlds actually formed farther out in the system and migrated in to their current orbits, so there's a small chance they once orbited in the habitable zone, had atmospheres, and potentially supported life.

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