U.S. astronomers have announced the discovery of the most &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/05/27/29346.html ' target=_blank>Earth-like planet outside of the solar system.
But temperatures on the surface would be too hot to support life on it.
The as yet unnamed "extra-solar" planet is orbiting a small star in the constellation Aquarius and is almost 7 1/2 times the size of the Earth. It may be the first rocky planet ever found orbiting a normal star not much different from our Sun.
"This is the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected and the first of a new class of rocky &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/379/15450_aliens.html ' target=_blank>terrestrial planets. It's like Earth's bigger cousin." said Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, reports Xinhuanet.
According to WebProNews, all of the other planets discovered outside our solar system have been about 15 times as massive as Earth or bigger. This discovery, orbiting the star Gliese 876 in the Aquarius constellation, is thought by scientists to be a rocky world similar to Earth.
But temperatures on the surface wouldn't support life as we know it. Ranging from 400 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the planet is 2 million miles from its star. Earth averages about 93 million miles from its sun, in comparison. The conjecture that the planet would be rocky comes from its relatively low mass and distance from its sun. Gas giants tend to be much more massive as noted previously.