Its sun's name is Tau Ceti, visible to the naked eye and the planet is one of five in its orbit, thought to have the conditions to support life. Tau Ceti, identical to the Earth's Sun, is a mere 12 light years away, just 120 trillion kilometres. The breaking news is that one of these five planets is thought to contain water. And life.
The news comes in the next edition of Astronomy and Astrophysics which provides further information on the planets around Tau Ceti after 6,000 observations were performed with three different telescopes. The five Tau Ceti planets are thought to vary between two to six times the size of Earth and one of these is thought, like Earth, to be in the "habitable zone" around the sun.
This zone is also known as the Goldilocks Zone being not too hot or too cold to have liquid water on the surface, and therefore have the conditions to support life. Astronomers hope, as a next stage, to study the atmospheres of these planets.
Tau Ceti has been observed by humans with the naked eye for centuries, appearing as a third-magnitude star. The name is the Bayer designation, after the German astronomer Johann Bayer. The habitable planet is stable, like its sun and would have similar characteristics to the Earth, given that its solar analog is virtually the same.
The same star was referred to as Thalith al Na'amat in the Arabic Calendarium of Al Achsasi al Mouakket, written around 1650 in Cairo and in Chinese, it is referred to as Tian Cang Wu (The Firth Star of the Square Celestial Granary).
The sun and its planets have been a source of constant interest from astronomers searching for celestial bodies which have the conditions to support life.
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