Potentially habitable exoplanet is a lot like Earth, looks good to us

Have you ever felt like you really wanted to get away from it all? Life not going so great, maybe your job fell apart? And I mean really get away, as in 16 light years away from Earth? Then you'll be as happy as we are to hear that astronomers in Australia have just discovered a planet which looks like it could be a lot like Earth: the perfect place for a long distance getaway (or permanent resettlement).

Gliese 832c is one of two known planets orbiting Gliese 832, a red dwarf star in the constellation Grus. It sits a lot closer to its own sun than we on Earth do to ours, but Gliese 832's energy output is much less intense than our own Sun, making the amount of energy reaching the planet's surface about the same. Exactly what the surface temperatures are depends somewhat on how thick Gliese 832c's atmosphere turns out to be, although the astronomers warn that seasonal variations are likely to be much wider than here on Earth. The good news is that Gliese 832c orbits its sun in just over 35 days, so if you're feeling cold during the Glieseian winter, just hang in there and it will warm up in just a few weeks.

Astronomers are most excited by Gliese's proximity to Earth, since at 16.1 light years, it's far closer than other potentially habitable planets (like Kepler 186f, which is about 500 light years away). The only problem is that even though it's our next door neighbor in galactic terms, using our current lousy space travel technology it still would take about 80,000 years to get there. Time to get started working on that warp drive right? Engage!

Cornell University Library, via Sci-News.com

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