Habitable planets exist in our own backyard

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 11:00 hrs

London, Feb 7 (IANS) Earth-like planets could be all around us the nearest just 13 light years away, and some may harbour life more advanced than on Earth, astronomers believe.

A space telescope has found that six per cent of red dwarf stars are circled by potentially habitable worlds.

The closest red dwarf stars and their planets, which we could potentially inhabit are in our astronomical backyard of just 13 light years' distance.

And since red dwarf stars live much longer than Sun-like stars, any life on such a planet could be much older and more evolved than on Earth, the Daily Mail reports.

Harvard astronomer Courtney Dressing, who led the study, said: "We thought we would have to search vast distances to find an Earth-like planet. Now we realise another Earth is probably in our own backyard, waiting to be spotted."

These findings were presented at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

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