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Astronomers: Newly discovered planet may be able to support life

October 01, 2010
"If we discover life outside our planet, it would perhaps be the most significant discovery of all time,"
- Ed Seidel of the National Science Foundation

Astronomers have discovered a new planet that just may be able to support life in a nearby solar system a mere 20 light years from Earth.

t's called Gliese 581g and is located in the constellation Libra. It circles the red dwarf star Gliese 581.

According to a research that is set to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, the planet is "squarely in the middle of the habitable zone of the star" which offers a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet around a very nearby star.

When a planet falls in the "habitable zone" it means that it orbits the star at a distance that allows for the planet to have both liquid water and an atmosphere, two conditions that are considered important for life to exist.

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