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A new Goldilocks for habitable planets

22 August 2016 Astronomy Now

The search for habitable, alien worlds beyond our Solar System needs to make room for a second “Goldilocks,” according to a Yale University researcher. The new study suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn’t sufficient to support life.

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Measuring the pull of gravity at the surface of distant stars

1 January 2016 Astronomy Now

An international team of researchers have found a new way to measure the pull of gravity at the surface of a star. The new method allows scientists to measure surface gravity with an accuracy of about four percent, for stars too distant and too faint to apply current techniques. For remote stars with planets orbiting them, this information is key in determining whether any of those planets can harbour life.

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Potentially habitable super-Earth found just 14 light-years away

18 December 2015 Astronomy Now

Australian astronomers from the University of New South Wales have discovered the closest potentially habitable planet found outside our solar system so far, orbiting a star just 14 light-years away. The planet, more than four times the mass of the Earth, is one of three that the team detected around a red dwarf star called Wolf 1061.