You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Jumbo Earthlike planet might have water and life, close enough to study


Scientists have discovered another Earthlike planet in a nearby solar system just 39 light years away.

The rocky, super-sized planet, named LHS 1140b, is inside the habitable zone, or Goldilocks Zone, orbiting a red dwarf star with an average temperature that could support liquid water.

>> Read more trending news

The planet is almost seven times larger than Earth and about 11,000 miles in diameter, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

"This is the most exciting exoplanet I've seen in the past decade," lead study author Jason Dittmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) said in a statement

"We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science − searching for evidence of life beyond Earth."

Researchers discovered the planet using the transit method, which measures how much light a potential planet blocks as it crosses in front of a star.

>> Related: Scientists find 7 ‘Earth-sized planets’ orbiting star 40 light-years away, NASA says

Scientist believe that 1140b could be close enough that newer telescopes now under construction might be able to search for specific gasses, like oxygen, in the future.

Thousands of exoplanets in thousands of planetary systems have been discovered so far, and potentially habitable planets have also been found. 

>> Related: Space travel is measured in light years, but what’s a light-year anyway?

NASA announced the discovery earlier this year of seven Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1, but more study is needed to see if they could support life.

 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Major mixed-use project  gets green light in Gwinnett
Major mixed-use project gets green light in Gwinnett

A major mixed-use project proposed near a busy Gwinnett intersection got the green light from county’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night.  The project would go up on about 22 acres near Ga. 120’s intersection with Meadow Church Road, just west of I-85 near Duluth. The development, which would also be adjacent to the headquarters...
Alleged threats to blow up SunTrust Park lead to arrest
Alleged threats to blow up SunTrust Park lead to arrest

First, witnesses said they saw a man peeling the sealant off a Cobb County Transit bus stop window Friday.  Next, the man allegedly threw a trash can in the road and picked a fight with a bystander. Carl Steven Clark of Marietta is then accused of punching a man in the face with a closed fist, but he wasn’t done fighting. According to a...
College Park officer resigned a week before statutory rape arrest
College Park officer resigned a week before statutory rape arrest

A former College Park police officer accused of taking a teen to a hotel for “casual sex” resigned a week before his arrest.  Villa Rica police arrested David Stephen Block on April 14, not long after the department began its investigation involving two 15-year-old girls claiming to be 18 and 20 year olds on internet dating sites,...
Ex-treasurer accused of stealing thousands from school drama club
Ex-treasurer accused of stealing thousands from school drama club

The former treasurer of the Cherokee High School drama booster club is accused of stealing money from fundraisers, officials said. Michelle Renee Adas was arrested Monday after a tip led to an immediate investigation, Canton police Officer Pacer Cordry said.  Officials noticed several irregularities when they looked at the financial records...
Man serving life says DNA clears him; not so fast, says prosecutor
Man serving life says DNA clears him; not so fast, says prosecutor

For the past 27 years, Ronald Jacobsen has been serving a life sentence for kidnapping a woman from a Newton County convenience store and then beating and sexually assaulting her on a two-hour drive down I-20. A DNA test now shows, however, that Jacobsen did not commit the crime, Vanessa Potkin, a lawyer for the Innocence Project, told a judge on Tuesday...
More Stories