Moving closer to the goal of finding a planet just like home, astronomers this week announced their discovery of the closest known cousin to Earth—a solid world just 15 light-years beyond the solar system.
With its surface temperature hot enough to roast a chicken, the newfound orb can't sustain life as we know it. But given the recent advances in planet detection, the discovery bodes well for finding habitable planets, comments theorist Doug Lin of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
The new find, which is about 7.5 times as heavy as Earth, is the least massive of the 156 extrasolar planets detected to date and is the most likely to have a rocky composition. G