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Earth-sized planet found just outside solar system

This artist’s impression made available by the European Southern Observatory on Tuesday shows a planet, right, orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, center, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Alpha Centauri A is at left. Earth's sun is visible at upper right. Searching across the galaxy for interesting alien worlds, scientists made a surprising discovery: a planet remarkably similar to Earth in a solar system right next door. Other Earth-like planets have been found before, but this one is far closer than previous discoveries. Unfortunately, the planet is way too hot for life, and it’s still 25 trillion miles away. (Photo by The Associated Press)
This artist’s impression made available by the European Southern Observatory on Tuesday shows a planet, right, orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, center, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Alpha Centauri A is at left. Earth's sun is visible at upper right. Searching across the galaxy for interesting alien worlds, scientists made a surprising discovery: a planet remarkably similar to Earth in a solar system right next door. Other Earth-like planets have been found before, but this one is far closer than previous discoveries. Unfortunately, the planet is way too hot for life, and it’s still 25 trillion miles away. (Photo by The Associated Press)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 06:04 pm
WASHINGTON — Astronomers say that just outside our solar system they've found a planet that's the closest you can get to Earth in location and size.It is the type of planet they've been searching for across the Milky Way galaxy and they found it circling a star right next door — 25 trillion miles away. But the Earth-like planet is so hot its surface may be like molten lava.

The team of European astronomers who found it say it's likely there are other planets circling the same star. And those planets could fit the not-too-hot, not-too-cold description that astronomers sometimes call the Goldilocks Zone.

The star system is Alpha Centauri B. The research was released online Tuesday in the journal Nature.

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