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Inhabitable planet discovered by astronomers

by Nicole
September 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

Two planets have been discovered outside the solar system in what astronomers call the habitable zone, or the Goldilocks zone.

Called HD85512b, the planet is 35 light years from Earth in the Vela constellation.

Researchers also identified 50 planets outside our solar system, using the HARPS spectrograph, an instrument of the European Southern Observatory located in Chile .

The fact that it is located in a habitable zone means that water can exist in liquid form, which is one of the key conditions that allow a planet to host life forms similar to those found on Earth.

“It’s going to be really muggy, just think about the muggiest ( Washington ) day you can think of,” said study author Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer with the Max Planck Institute in Germany . “We’re not saying it’s habitable for you and me.”

The newly-discovered planet is about 3.6 times the mass of Earth, with temperatures ranging from 85 to 120 degrees.

A year there is only 60 days and its sun is about 1,800 degrees cooler than our sun, Kaltenegger said.

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