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 Closest 'Alien Earth' May Be 13 Light-Years Away

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PostSubject: Closest 'Alien Earth' May Be 13 Light-Years Away   Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:45 pm

An Earth-like alien planet may reside right in our solar system's backyard, just 13 light-years or so away, astronomers announced today (Feb. 6).

That number is just an estimate, though, and not based on an exoplanet discovery.

The researchers used data from NASA's prolific planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, which is staring at more than 150,000 stars simultaneously. Kepler detects planets by measuring the temporary brightness dips caused when the worlds pass in front of, or transit, their stars' faces from the instrument's perspective.

The team pulled out a sample of 3,897 red dwarfs — stars dimmer and smaller than our own sun — and determined that Kepler has identified 95 exoplanet candidates circling them. Three of these candidates are roughly Earth-size and orbit within their stars' "Goldilocks zone," where liquid water (and possibly life as we know it) can exist.

more here: http://www.space.com/19667-closest-alien-earth-exoplanets.html?cid=dlvr.it

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