Artist’s depiction of the discovered planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B, one of our Sun’s closest neighbors. Credit: PA/University of Geneva.

Another exoplanet has been found, but what makes this planet especially interesting is its similarity to Earth in both size and mass.

And what makes the finding even more remarkable is its close proximity to Earth. It resides at a distance of only four light years from Earth (38 billion kilometers), which in space terms is indeed a relatively short distance.

The habitable zone “Goldilocks zone” relative to main star’s luminosity.

The planet has been found in the Alpha Centauri planetary star system, a system you probably have heard about since it is our nearest neighbor in space.

But what makes the finding a little less exciting is that the planet resides in an orbit somewhat close to its sun, naturally making it less likely to be habitable by life as we know it. But this is also the reason to why the planet has been easier to identify since its close proximity makes it easier to see by the Kepler Space Telescope.

The researchers conclude however that the planetary system may have other similar planets in its vicinity which may have better conditions for life to prosper.

The discovery has been published in Nature and it is considered noteworthy because of the extreme difficulty to identify planets at this size, similar to Earth.

Most planets that are found are gas giants such as Jupiter or Saturn. Which may however have moons of their own with suitable conditions for life.


An Earth-mass planet orbiting α Centauri B