A nearby star that’s been a staple of sci-fi and sci-fact for years may be loaded with planets, including at least one that may be able to support liquid water on the surface:
Digital Trends — The star in question is Tau Ceti, only 12 light-years from Earth and visible to the naked eye. The planets surrounding the star are estimated to be two to six times bigger than earth, with one in particular measuring five times the size of our home planet. Said planet is lying in what’s commonly known as the star’s “Goldilocks Zone” – a position that is neither too hot nor too cold, but instead exactly the right environment to support the prospect of liquid surface water, and therefore, life.
It took information collated from more than 6,000 observations from three telescopes located in Hawaii, Chile, and Australia to discover the planetary system, believed to be the lowest-mass solar system detected yet. The system was discovered using a sensitive process known as the “radical velocity method,” which searches for a “wobble” in a star’s movement caused by the gravitational pull of orbiting planets. According to Professor Steve Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz, who is part of the research team responsible for the discovery, uncovering the planets “is in keeping with out emerging view that virtually every star has planets, and that the galaxy must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets. They are everywhere, even right next door.”