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Distant Planet Might Support Life

September 14, 2011 by  

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., Sept. 13 (UPI) — European astronomers say they have found a planet outside the solar system evidently in the right zone to support life, though life there would be no picnic.

The discovery was announced at the Extreme Solar Systems conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The planet was discovered orbiting its star in the so-called Goldilocks zone — neither too hot not too cold for the presence of liquid water, the key for a planet to support Earth-like life.

The planet, circling a star about 35 light years from Earth in the constellation Vela, is roughly 3.6 times the mass of Earth and may have temperatures ranging from 85 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, scientists said.

“It’s going to be really muggy, just think about the muggiest (Washington) day you can think of,” study author Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer with the Max Planck Institute in Germany, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “We’re not saying it’s habitable for you and me.”

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