Astronomers May Have Found the Closest Life-Supporting Planet
I can see Wolf 1061c from my house!
Now this is what they call a new frontier, right?
According to a study by astronomers from the University of New South Wales in Australia, they may have located the closest planet with the potential to support life. The discovery (soon to be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters–which has the best name already, right?) has dubbed this find a “super earth”, one of three planets orbiting a star called Wolf 1061. The middle planet, Wolf 1061c, is the one currently being looked at due to its placement in orbit–it’s located an optimum distance away from the star, making temperatures just right for the formation of liquid water.
Technically, we’ve found other planets closer to Earth than this, but none of them have been deemed as habitable. Right now, Wolf 1061c measures at a distance of 14 light-years away. It would take 14 years for us to reach this potential planet–but we’d also have to invent lightspeed travel first. So it’s still kind of a long ways off.
The UNSW team behind the findings says they hope to have the opportunity to study the atmosphere of the planet to determine if it is in fact life-supporting–but at the same time, odds are we’ll probably find a planet even closer than 14 light-years away.
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