Tau Ceti planetary system

Chris Butler/Science Source

Nearby star hosts Earth-sized planets

Another nearby star has been found to host Earth-sized planets, The Telegraph reports, but this time the star is very similar to our sun, increasing the chances that its planets may harbor life. An international team, using telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, detected movement in the star—at speeds as low as 30 centimeters per second—caused by the gravity of the orbiting planets. The star, Tau Ceti, is just 12 light-years from Earth and is orbited by four super-Earths, with the smallest weighing in at 1.7 times Earth’s mass. Other recent discoveries of nearby Earth-sized planets have been around red dwarf stars, including TRAPPIST-1 and Proxima Centauri, but these create less favorable conditions for life. The outermost two of the planets around Tau Ceti seem to be in the star’s habitable zone so will be prime candidates for further study when new instruments, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, come online.

Latest News