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Earth’s nearest solar neighborhood has a habitable planet

December 19, 2012
"This discovery is in keeping with our emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets,"
- study co-author Steve Vogt, of the University of California

The nearest single Sun-like star to the Earth hosts five planets - one of which is in the "habitable zone" where liquid water can exist, astronomers say.

Tau Ceti's planetary quintet - reported in an online paper that will appear in Astronomy and Astrophysics - was found in existing planet-hunting data.

The study's refined methods of sifting through data should help find even more far-flung worlds.

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