Scientists Have Spotted a New Planet
Scientists have spotted a new planet that's a dead ringer for our own and resides around the cosmic corner from our part of the galaxy. The planet's proximity and uncanny resemblance to Earth make it arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system.
The University of Maryland's Drake Deming wrote the commentary accompanying the scientific report about the discovery.
Dubbed GJ 1132b, it is slightly wider and more massive than Earth. Its composition is similar to Earth's, and it lies only 39 light years, or 230 trillion miles away, which isn't very far compared to the massive spread of the universe.
If planet GJ 1132 b were a house, it would almost certainly be vacant. The coolest part of its atmosphere measures a scorching 450 to 500 degrees, akin to the hottest temperature your oven will go. It's definitely a very toasty world and probably too warm to support life.
But it's not too toasty to have an atmosphere. Most Earth size planets outside our solar system are so hot that no atmosphere could survive, but GJ 1132b may have a wrapper of the same gases that swaddle the Earth.
That possibility has scientists rubbing their hands in anticipation over what they could learn from this world.