The new planet is too close to its parent star to support life. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Astronomers have discovered a planet that has been described as a 'potential gold mine of science data'.
Hot on the heels of last month's discovery of an Earth-like world in the habitable zone of a distant star comes another planetary find - this time involving a planet that's a lot closer to home.
Found using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, planet HD 219134b is situated only 21 light years away but is unfortunately too close to its parent star to be able to support life.
Nonetheless, its proximity should make it possible for scientists to learn a great deal from it.
"Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized," said scientist Michael Werner. "This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come."
In particular the planet should prove to be a prime target for NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope which is scheduled to be up and running by 2018.
Source: Independent | Comments (18)