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  1. New Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Discovered in (Relatively Speaking) Nearby Tau Ceti System

    Astronomers have discovered five new planets orbiting the nearby star Tau Ceti, and there's even better news -- one of them could potentially support life one day. While there are a couple things to be excited for, that's a big "potentially." What's more, it's not  as if "nearby" is not exactly down the block in absolute terms. At just 12 million miles away, though, it's just a stone's throw away, as far as the cosmos are concerned. Considering that we're running out of ways to doom this planet, it's never too early to start looking for a new one to ruin a little farther down the line.

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  2. Controversial Exoplanet Gliese 581 G Now Tops List of Potentially Habitable Worlds

    When we last checked in on the potential exoplanet Gliese 581 g, things were looking good for it to exist in the habitable "Goldilocks region" where liquid water can exist on the surface of a planet. Then, there were concerns that the rocky world might not exist at all. Now, the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo has placed the planet at the top of its list of potentially habitable exoplanets.

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  3. Scientists May Have Spotted a Tiny, Magma-Covered Exoplanet

    While observing the exoplanet GJ 436b orbiting its red-dwarf star, astronomers noticed something odd: Periodic fluctuations in light from the star indicating that there was perhaps another planet. One smaller than Earth, and possibly covered in glowing, molten rock. Who's up for a trip to Magma World?

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  4. Astronomers Spot First Ever Spiral Arm Star, Hints of Exoplanets

    The constellation Lupus has revealed a surprise to astronomers with a star that seems to have two spiral arms reaching out from either end. While these kind of structures have been observed in galaxies, specifically pinwheel galaxies, arms have never been seen on an individual star before. The star, called SAO 206462, is a relatively young star surrounded by a disk of gas and dust. Scientists hoped that close observation would reveal an exoplanet forming from the swirling mass, and so peered at the 400-light-year distant star with Japan's Subaru Telescope. Instead of planets, two graceful arms similar to those found in galaxies emerged. However, that doesn't mean that planets aren't hanging around in the disk -- which is apparently twice as wide as the orbit of Pluto. In fact, theoretical models suggest that the spiral arms could be formed from not one planet, but two. Obviously, some further investigation of this intriguing and beautiful star will be warranted.

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  5. Mover over Gliese 581g: 581d Confirmed as Habitable

    I'll hedge the headline and point out that it is as "confirmed" as anything 20 light-years away from Earth can be. That said, new research is presenting a strong argument that the rocky planet Gliese 581d could, indeed, harbor life. Readers will recall the name as just over a year ago that its neighbor, Gliese 581g, was thought to be habitable. Those hopes were dashed, when further research showed that 581g may not even exist. 581d on the other hand has much better chances. It orbits towards the edge of the so-called "Goldilocks zone," an orbit far enough away from a star where conditions are "just right" for life. The planet is larger than Earth, exerting about twice our home planet's gravity, and has a thick carbon-dioxide atmosphere. According to France's National Centre for Scientific Research, which modeled the conditions of 581d, liquid water and possibly oceans could exist on the planet.

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  6. Most Earth-like Exoplanet Actually More Like Comet

    Exoplanet COROT-7b was thought to be the most Earth-like exoplanet ever discovered due to its size, density and rocky features, but a new study suggests that the exoplanet carries a tail of debris, making it (in some respects) more like a comet.

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