An artist's impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth
(Photo : Reuters)
Astronomers have discovered a planet close to the size of Earth in a neighboring solar system.
Alpha Centauri, a triple star system, contains the planet that astronomers say is very similar to Earth.
Don't expect any visits to the system anytime soon. It's located about 25.4 trillion miles away. The study was released by Xavier Dumusque of Switzerland's Geneva Observatory Tuesday. USA Today said the plant's surface is above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Although its mass may be similar, the planet is uninhabitable, according to the New York Times.
"Very small planets are not rare," Dumusque told the Times. "When you find one small planet, you find others."
Other astronomers have expressed interest in further exploring the familiar solar system.
"That is a real wow factor," says planetary theorist Alan Boss, who was not on the discovery team, USA Today reports. "Humans have been staring at this stellar system for many thousands of years without knowing that there was another Earth-mass planet there all the time."
The interest of space exploration is prevalent. NASA has been unveiling photos of Mars its rover Curiosity sent when it visited the planet.
Astronomers recently found a "diamond planet" that is twice the size of Earth.
"The discovery that our nearest neighbor has rocky planets is the story of the decade. I'd bet $100 that there are other planets that are there as well," said Debra Fischer, a Yale astronomer, to the NYT.