Three planets discovered orbiting nearby cool small star ‘best places to look for life’

From ABC News in Science, 3 May 2016:

Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting the habitable zone of an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.

The discovery, reported today in Nature, is the first evidence supporting the hypothesis that these very low-mass and low-temperature stars should have Earth-sized or smaller planets orbiting them.

The planets, which are the size of Venus and Earth, are currently the best places to look for life outside our solar system, said the team of researchers led by astronomer Dr Michaël Gillon, from the University of Liege in Belgium.

“Systems around these tiny stars are the only places where we can detect life on an Earth-sized exoplanet with our current technology,” Dr Gillon said. Read more.

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