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February 10 2013

Closest Earth-like planet may be 13 light years away


Let's take a peek at the neighbours. The closest Earth-like planet is probably orbiting a dim red star just 13 light years away. While that's too far for a visit, future telescopes might be able to see it and probe for signs of life.

At a press event today, Courtney Dressing of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics presented a new analysis of planets orbiting red dwarf stars seen by NASA's Kepler telescope. Kepler looks for exoplanets by watching stars dim as their planets pass in front of them, or transit, as seen from Earth.

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