Astronomers have located three Earth-sized planets which are orbiting a neighboring star that is about 12 light-years away.
The scientists estimate that all three of the discovered planets are to be at least 1.4 to 1.8 times the mass of Earth, and that they orbit their star every three to 13 days. To give a digestable example of how short this is, in our solar system, Mercury has the shortest orbit of our Sun at just 88 days. The most interesting part of this three planet discovery is the planet that has been titled as 'planet d', scientists are most interested in this planet because it falls within the star's habitable zone with the possible chance of water existing on the surface.
Ignasi Ribas, a co-author on the new paper and a researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences in Barcelona, Spain said "We are now one step closer [to] getting a census of rocky planets in the solar neighborhood". It is extremely difficult to determine if 'planet d' harbors the requirements for life to exist, as scientists need to account for the past of the star its orbiting. It could be possible that the star has ejected large amount of radiation at 'planet d', essentially ruining any possible chance of the planet having a habitable atmosphere.
Michael Endl, an astronomer at the University of Texas, Austin has said that "It's a great discovery of course, but it doesn't surprise me. Since NASA's Kepler mission we basically know that small planets are abundant around those very cool and small stars."
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