Habitable planet discovered, Earth-like climate and environment possible

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By Arlene Paredes | November 9, 2012 6:42 PM EST

A planet that orbits a star at just the right distance has been discovered. It is in a life-safe zone that is neither too hot nor too cold, making a climate and environment similar to Earth a possibility.

An Anglo-German team of astronomers reported planet HD 40307g, which orbits HD 40307 star, is part of a group of planets originally perceived to be too close to the star.

Life as we know it is likely elsewhere in space if the environment exists in the so-called Goldilocks Zone, explained RTE. If a planet is neither too hot nor too cold, then it could support liquid water. This right temperature exists in the Goldilocks Zone.

Planet HD 40307g is seven times more massive than Earth. It is the only planet in its system to be at the right distance from the star it orbits. Interestingly, the newly discovered planet orbits at about the same distance from its star. As such, it receives a similar amount of solar energy as Earth gets.

RTE reported over 800 planets have been discovered outside our solar system, but planets in the habitable zone are scarce. Planets that rotate and give way to a day-time and night-time are even rarer, which makes planet HD 40307g an exciting discovery.

"There is no reason why [HD 40307g] could not sustain an Earth-like climate," said the head of research team, Guillem Angla-Escude from Germany's University of Goettingen.

Mikko Tuomi at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain co-lead the study.

"Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet, or indeed any moons that it has, lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable," University of Hertfordshire astronomer Hugh Jones told Reuters.

This discovery was the subject of a research paper published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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