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Another nearby planet found that may be just right for life

Another nearby planet found that may be just right for life

The planet, which is called a super-Earth, orbits a red dwarf star 40 light years away.

Xavier Bonfils, an astronomer at the Observatory of the Sciences of the Universe in Grenoble, France, said LHS 1140b now "joins Trappist-1 at the head of the rankings".

By measuring how much light the planet blocks, the team determined that it was about 11,000 miles (17,703 kilometres) in diameter, or about 40 per cent larger than Earth. "The fact that the planet is rocky and in its star's habitable zone also raises its intrigue, because we may now have a planet suitable for the search for life as well".

Their estimates reveal the exoplanet is at least 5 billion years old and 18,000 kilometers (or around 11,184 miles) in diameter, nearly 1.4 larger than that of Earth. This is called the Goldilocks zone, because the conditions are just right.

Now, an worldwide team of astronomers has discovered a so-called 'super-Earth' that could contain liquid water, a situation that would make it a very good candidate for harbouring life.

It seems like only yesterday when scientists announced the discovery of yet another "super-Earth".

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Finally, LHS 1140b crosses the face of its star, which offers a prime view for astrobiologists. Dubbed LHS 1140b, the planet was first spotted in September 2014 by a group of telescopes in the mountains of northern Chile.

In the new work, Simpson finds that the Earth's finely balanced oceans may be a outcome of the anthropic principle - more often used in a cosmological context - which accounts for how our observations of the Universe are influenced by the requirement for the formation of sentient life. Not to be undone, scientists revealed earlier this year that TRAPPIST-1 hosts not just three, but at least seven worlds, a handful of which could be habitable. The steam is thought to have escaped into the atmosphere, where it condensed and fell to the planet as rain.

According to Jason Dittman at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics teaches planet mean the best chance so far in the search for life outside our own solar system. Fortunately, scientists said the exoplanet LHS 1140b is heavy enough to be able to retain its atmosphere or regenerate it later on through volcanic activities.

But he's really excited about looking for gases like methane, ozone, and carbon dioxide using bigger, shinier tools that could become available in the next decades: the James Webb Space Telescope, the Giant Magellan Telescope, and the European Extremely Large Telescope, among others. It was the MEarth array that first detected the unmistakable dips in starlight when the alien planet was in transit of its star, dim M-dwarf LHS 1140.

"I hope that we can go after both of these systems' atmospheres so that we can compare them to each other", Dittmann said. Its distance also means temperatures would be comfortable for life as we know it, unlike the otherwise similar, but very roasted, GJ 1132b. "LHS is one of these planets around small nearby red dwarfs, the ones we need to find as soon (and as many) as possible to study them with the JWST".

Outside astronomers have already put this new planet near the top of their must-see lists for new ground and space-based telescopes.

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