'Habitable' planet found orbiting star near Earth

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PostWed Dec 19, 2012 9:04 am » by E6722maj

A planet that could support life orbits a Sun-like star near the Earth, scientists have revealed.
There are five planets thought to be circling Tau Ceti - a star just 12 light years away - which is almost identical to the sun, a journal set to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics says.
One of those five planets, which is five times the Earth's mass, lies in the "habitable" zone where liquid water and life could potentially exist.


http://www.itv.com/news/2012-12-19/habi ... ear-earth/

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PostWed Dec 19, 2012 9:09 am » by Mydogma

Yep no doubt the universe is teaming with life...and we the newcomers as far as technology no doubt...
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PostWed Dec 19, 2012 11:33 am » by Spikey

Mydogma wrote:Yep no doubt the universe is teaming with life...and we the newcomers as far as technology no doubt...


Although, thinking about it, we're probably somewhere near the middle technology wise.

There are probably worlds populated with life in all stages of development, from bacteria only, all the way up to technology levels we can only dream of at this stage in our development.

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PostWed Dec 19, 2012 11:42 am » by Arella

The planet is not exactly Earth-like; its still pretty hefty at five time Earths mass. Also, the parent star is only about 1/5 the Suns mass, making it red, dim, and cool. The planet orbits the star at three times the distance Earth orbits the Sun. So its distance, together with the cool temperature of its parent sun, means the planet is very cold, far too cold to sustain life as we know it.

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PostWed Dec 19, 2012 3:10 pm » by Poooooot

If that's right, all five planets lie closer to their star than Mars does to ours; however, Tau Ceti emits only 45% as much light as the sun, so each planet receives less warmth than a planet would at the same distance from our sun. Tau Ceti's three innermost planets—designated b, c, and d—are probably too hot to support life, being so close to the star that they require only 14, 35, and 94 days to complete an orbit. The farthest of the three, d, is about as close to Tau Ceti as Mercury is to the sun.

It's the fourth planet—planet e—that the scientists suggest might be another life-bearing world, even though it's about four times as massive as Earth. If you lived there, you'd see a yellow sun in the sky, but your year would last just 168 days. That's because Tau Ceti lies somewhat closer to its star than Venus does to the sun and thus revolves faster than Earth. The fifth and outermost planet, designated Tau Ceti f, completes an orbit every 640 days and is slightly closer to its star than Mars is to the sun.

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=hp
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