Illustration from the European Southern Observatory
NEWLY FOUND PLANET COULD SUPPORT LIFE
It lies in the constellation Libra, about 20.5 light-years away
David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
A rocky planet not much larger than Earth has been detected orbiting a star close to our own neighborhood in the Milky Way, and the European astronomers who found it say it lies within the star's "habitable zone," where life could exist -- possibly in oceans of water.
The object is the smallest of all the 200 or more so-called exoplanets whose discovery around far-off stars in the past dozen years has sparked a burst of excitement worldwide among astronomers and astrobiologists.
Source at the San Francisco Chronicle