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Astronomers: 'Super Earth' Might Be Able to Sustain Life

Image: Astronomers: 'Super Earth' Might Be Able to Sustain Life
NASA's Hubble space telescope reveals a rich tapestry of more than half a million stars. (Rex Features via AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 02:51 PM

Astronomers believe that they have found a planet 1,200 light-years away that might be able to sustain life, according to a study in the journal Astrobiology, CBS News reported.

The planet, whose official name is Kepler-62f, might also have water on its surface.

"We found there are multiple atmospheric compositions that allow it to be warm enough to have surface liquid water," Aomawa Shields, the lead author of the study, said.

Shields and a research team from the University of Washington said the atmosphere would need to be composed of carbon dioxide, which isn't outside the realm of possibility, they said. If it had less than, but close to, Earth's equivalent, some orbit positions would get the planet above freezing temperatures during certain times of the year.

The scientists reported that Kepler-62f is 40 percent larger than Earth and would need more carbon dioxide than Earth has because it is further away from its sun, according to Phys.Org.

The team said that more than 2,300 exoplanets, or planets orbiting other suns, have been discovered. But only about a dozen of those could be warm enough to sustain life, based on whether it's warm enough to have liquid on its surface.

ScienceDaily reported that an exoplanet might have been discovered in Earth's solar system. "Planet 9" could have been drawn to Earth's system from a neighboring sun, the report said.

Kepler-62f was examined using a computer model that had never been used before on a planet orbiting another sun. They said this research will give them a list of planets to examine when newer telescopes allows them to look more closely.

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Astronomers believe that they have found a planet 1,200 light-years away that might be able to sustain life, according to a study in the journal Astrobiology, CBS News reported.
nasa, astronomy, planet, earth, kepler-62f
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2016-51-02
Thursday, 02 Jun 2016 02:51 PM
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