For as long as humans have existed, we have looked up and into the depths of the night sky and wondered what could possibly be out there. Well, we might be one small step closer to knowing.
An Earth-like rocky exoplanet has just been discovered, which shares many similarities to our very own planet Earth.
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-like super planet almost 25,000 light-years away.
It is believed that there are many Earth-like planets sprinkled throughout the Milky Way galaxy, however it is difficult to find them, given their distance away from Earth and size of their stars. However over 4000 exoplanets have been discovered with a third of them being rocky like Earth.
The newly discovered rocky exoplanet orbits at an Earth-like distance from its own star and is positioned 24,722.65 light-years away from us. This makes it potentially most distant Milky Way exoplanet that has been discovered so far.
After further research and analysis, it was determined that the exoplanet is a super-Earth, meaning its a lot bigger (almost four times the mass of Earth.) Other interesting findings included that is orbits a star which is just 0.12 times the mass of the sun, with its year lasting approximately 617 days.
As to whether the super-earth is inhabitable or not, is unclear, and will probably remain unclear for a while to come. There is still plenty to learn about the nature of the star including temperature, activity level, spectrum, atmosphere and stars.
What makes this finding so exciting, is the information it provides us about life in the Universe, a topic so complex and hard to understand. If life arose on our rocky exoplanet, then surely it could happen an another? With continued research of various exoplanets in the Milky way Galaxy, we might just discover life beyond Earth.
The research discovered above has been published in The Astronomical Journal.