Saturday, May 20, 2006

Science Saturday II: Just Like Home

A team of European astronomers says it has found one of the closest matches yet to our solar system: three planets and an asteroid belt circling a pale Sun-like star about 42 light-years away in the constellation Puppis.

The two innermost of the new Puppis planets, each about 10 times the mass of Earth, are probably rocky like our own home, but they circle too tightly about their star to be habitable.

The third planet, about 18 times the mass of Earth, circles at a distance of about 60 million miles, within the star's so-called habitable zone, where the temperatures would allow the existence of liquid water, the astronomers said.

The New York Times has more here.

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