Our nearest single-star neighbour could be a promising place to look for a habitable planet like Earth.
The Tau Ceti system is only 12 light years away, a veritable small step in the vast scale of the cosmos. In 1960, astronomer Frank Drake was so convinced that Tau Ceti was the best place to look for signs of an extraterrestrial civilization that he made it his first target. Now thanks to new planet-hunting methods astronomers believe that the Tau Ceti system could be home to at least five planets, including one that would be within the star's "Goldilocks zone" in which liquid water could exist.
The discovery was made through the examination of more than 6,000 observations of Tau Ceti which revealed that the star's motion indicated the presence of multiple planetary bodies. "It's certainly very tantalising evidence for potentially a very exciting planetary system," said astronomer Professor Chris Tinney.
"Astronomers have discovered what may be five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the closest single star beyond our solar system, the temperature and luminosity of which nearly match the sun's."
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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