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Earth-sized planet found just outside solar system

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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 - 6:06 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.