Scientists: 'Holy Grail' World Could Support Life
Hello, Gliese 667Cc
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2012 3:18 PM CDT
An artist's rendition of a planet circling another red dwarf.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Researchers poring over old European Southern Observatory data have found a world so potentially similar to Earth that one researcher called it a "Holy Grail" discovery, the Telegraph reports. Gliese 667Cc orbits a red dwarf 22 light years away, and likely has temperatures extremely similar to those on Earth, University of California and University Gottingen astronomers have concluded. "It's right there in the habitable zone," says one astronomer. "It's not on the edge. It is right in there."

The "habitable zone" is the all-too-narrow region around a star where a planet is neither too cold nor too warm for life. While Gliese667Cc gets 10% less light than Earth, that light is infrared, so the amount of energy should be roughly equal, meaning water could exist in liquid form there. And while most planets circling red dwarfs are gas giants, Gliese 667Cc is solid, though it is giant by Earth standards, at 4.5 times Earth's mass.