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Star Hosts Closest Alien Planet In 'Habitable Zone'

Update Date: Dec 17, 2015 10:21 PM EST

There is one of the "closest, potentially habitable planets" just out of the solar system, which is revolving around our friendly neighbourhood star 14 light years away, says a study at the University of New South Wales.

Three planets were spotted orbiting red dwarf star called "Wolf 1061." The planet found newly is four times the mass of the earth, say the researchers.

"It is a particularly exciting find because all three planets are of low enough mass to be potentially rocky and have a solid surface, and the middle planet, Wolf 1061c, sits within the 'Goldilocks' zone where it might be possible for liquid water and maybe even life to exist," Dr. Duncan Wright, lead author of the study from UNSW, said in a news release.

Now this is the schedule: the triad orbits the star every five, 18 and 67 days. The masses of the planets are 1.4, 4.3 and 5.2 times that of the earth, say scientists.

The bigger planet that is on the outer ring is rocky and remains outside the outside boundary of the "habitable zone". But the smaller planet in the inner ring is too near to the central star. Hence, it cannot be habitable, reports scienceworldreport.

"While a few other planets have been found that orbit stars closer to us than Wolf 1061, those planets are not considered to be remotely habitable," Wright said. "These three planets right next door to us join the small but growing ranks of potentially habitable rocky worlds orbiting nearby stars cooler than our sun."

For the discovery, the scientists used the HARPS spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-metre telescope located in Chile.

This discovery would help the astronomers to study the environments of the planets, and also check if they could be habitable.

The study was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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