Scientists Discover Another Potentially Habitable Planet Near Earth

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Astronomers have discovered another giant, potentially habitable planet very close to Earth.

The planet, dubbed GJ 536 b, has a mass around 5.4 times greater than that of Earth and is in orbit around a nearby star. The star it orbits is less than 33 light years away from Earth, which is very close in galactic terms.

“This rocky exoplanet is orbiting a star much smaller and cooler than the sun,” Dr. Jonay Isaí González, an astronomer at University of La Laguna, said in a press statement. “But it is sufficiently nearby and bright. It is also observable from both the northern and southern hemispheres, which is very interesting for future high-stability spectrographs, and in particular, for the possible detection of another rocky planet in the habitability zone of the star.”

The world is very close to its star’s “Goldilocks Zone,” the region around a star that has just the right conditions to find liquid water on a planet’s surface.

The planet has been detected in a joint effort between the International Astronautical Congress and the Geneva Observatory, using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Seeker spectrograph on a telescope in Chili.

Astronomers announced the discovery of a potential “second Earth” orbiting the nearby star of Proxima Centauri Wednesday after finding a slight “wobble” of gravity tugging on the world. The indirect method of detection used to locate the planet, dubbed “Proxima b,” means scientists don’t currently know a lot about it, but there’s already speculation about the possibility of life on the planet.

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