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February 6 2013

Study shows Earth-like planets likely commonplace

A new study indicates some 60 percent of the galaxy's most ubiquitous stars likely host planets smaller than Neptune and about 6 percent host Earth-size worlds orbiting in the so-called "Goldilocks" zone where liquid water -- and life as we know it -- are possible, astronomers announced Wednesday.

The stars in question are red dwarfs with a quarter the mass of the sun and just 2 percent the luminosity. But they are commonplace, making up about 75 percent of the stars closest to the sun.

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