New earth-like planet found 11 light years from our solar system

Nearby exoplanet is a target for life

The new exoplanet, named Ross 128 b, has numerous properties necessary for supporting life: It's a similar size to Earth, it has a rocky surface, and the distance from its star potentially puts it in the "habitable zone"- the area around a star where temperatures allow water to remain liquid on the surface of a planet.

A newfound exoplanet may be one of the best bets to host alien life ever discovered - and it's right in Earth's backyard, cosmically speaking.

Bonfils and his colleagues found Ross 128b using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), an instrument at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Astronomers' instruments are not yet sensitive enough to spot Earth-size planets in Earth-like orbits around stars similar to our sun.

Cool, low-mass red dwarfs are the most common type of stars-at least in our Sun's neighborhood. In part because the new planet, called Ross 128 b, orbits what seems to be an inactive red dwarf star.

Ross 128 b has numerous hallmarks that make for a promising target in the search for extraterrestrial life as it shares many similarities to Earth, the only world on which life is known to exist.

It's the closest temperate planet to be discovered after Proxima b, which is about 4 light-years away.

He said Ross 128b will by then take the crown from Proxima b and become the closest exoplanet to Earth.

Meanwhile, Ross 128, the host star of Ross 128 b, is an exceptionally quiet star.

Former Celtic, Man United man Miller battling cancer
John Hartson , who played alongside Miller at Celtic, tweeted: "My thoughts are with Liam miller and his family this morning". Ex-Celtic defender Darren O'Dea, now with Dundee, said: 'All my thoughts and love with Liam Miller and his family'.

There's a new place to look for life in the universe.

"We still need to know what the atmosphere of Ross 128 b is like", co-discoverer Nicola Astudillo-Defru told BBC News. The discovery of Proxima b was announced in August 2016 to huge excitement, but there are serious doubts regarding its potential habitability that stems from the nature of its red dwarf parent star, Proxima Centauri.

"With the data from HARPS, the team found that Ross 128 b orbits 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun".

No extraterrestrials have been spotted on Ross 128 b, nor even any alien germs. The research team estimates that Ross 128 b receives just 38 percent more radiation than Earth does and should have equilibrium temperatures between minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the ELT comes online, "It shall provide both the collecting power and the angular resolution to observe Ross 128 b directly". Maybe we'll have them by the time the planet gets closer. So unfortunately, it would be a stretch to label Ross 128 b as "potentially habitable".

That's why they're sticking to calling the planet "temperate" for now, until they can determine whether it's actually within a habitable zone or just on the cusp.

While Ross 128b is considered to be a "temperate" planet, astronomers are still not certain where it lies in relation to its star's habitable zone.

Earlier this year, scientists said that they had received odd pulses coming from the star.

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