Home from home: Scientists may have discovered an Earth-like planet with water
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is reportedly set to announce the discovery of a new “Earth-like” planet at the end of August. The unnamed planet is thought to have liquid water on its surface.
The as of yet unnamed planet orbits the small Proxima Centauri star, which, other than the sun, is the closest star to Earth, located only 4.25 lightyears away.
According to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, the exoplanet is located in the so called “Goldilocks zone” or “habitable zone,” meaning it orbits the star at a distance which would be favorable to having liquid water on the surface, which is vital for supporting life.
"Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by," the report said, citing an unnamed source at the ESO, who themselves have neither confirmed or denied their rumored announcement.
"We were surprised to see the article in Der Spiegel and do not know the source," ESO spokesman Richard Hook told Space.com. "ESO has no further comment to make at present."
If true, the planet’s discovery will come just over a year after NASA found two other exoplanets outside the solar system - Kepler-452b and HD 219134b.
Both were found to be in habitable zones, with Kepler-452b located around 1,400 light years away, while HD 219134b is 21 light-years from our planet.