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Solar System

For the first time, astronomers have detected a rocky planet in another solar system that has the most basic and essential conditions needed to support extraterrestrial life.

The presence of Earth-like exoplanets in what is called the “habitable zone” has been predicted for some time, but actually identifying and measuring one was referred to Wednesday as the beginning of a new era in the search for life beyond Earth.

“This is our first Goldilocks planet – just the right size and the right distance from its sun,” said astronomer and “planet-hunter” Paul Butler with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “A threshold has been crossed.”

The planet, called Gliese 581G, is quite close at 20 light years from Earth’s solar system. It is considered to be in the habitable zone because of its distance from its sun and its size.

Read entire article at WashingtonPost.com

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