Astronomers have found two habitable planets near one of the closest stars to humanity’s home.
The pair of ‘Earth-like’ worlds were glimpsed around Teegarden’s Star, which is 12.5 light years away.
Whilst this is a tiny distance in cosmic terms, the star is still pretty far away.
One expert suggested it would take 137 thousand years to travel to Alpha Centauri – which is just four light-years away – meaning it would take more than 400,000 years to reach Teegarden’s Star using current technology.
The planets are orbiting at a distance from their sun which means liquid water could exist on their surface – meaning alien organisms could potentially thrive on both worlds.
‘The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system,’ explained Mathias Zechmeister of the Institute for Astrophysics at the University of Göttingen.
‘They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form.’
The astronomers suspect that the two planets could be part of a larger system.
‘Many stars are apparently surrounded by systems with several planets,’ said Professor Stefan Dreizler of the University of Göttingen.
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