New study shows closest Earth-like planet ‘stroll across park,’ possibly 13 light-years away
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 3:08 PM
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Earth-like worlds may be closer and more plentiful than anyone imagined.
Astronomers reported Wednesday that the nearest Earth-like planet may be just 13 light-years away — or some 77 trillion miles. That planet hasn’t been found yet, but should be there based on the team’s study of red dwarf stars.
Galactically speaking, that’s right next door.
If our Milky Way galaxy were shrunk to the size of the United States, the distance between Earth and its closest Earth-like neighbor would be the span of New York’s Central Park, said Harvard University graduate student Courtney Dressing, the study’s lead author.
“The nearest Earth-like planet is simply a stroll across the park away,” she said at a news conference in Cambridge, Mass.
And it's only 4.3 LY away. Unfortunately, it's a bit too close to it's star. Not nearly Earth-like.
Most of the nearby stars are M-dwarf, so-called red dwarf stars. They are small, not as hot, but these type are over 3/4 of the stars in our galaxy. Also, every one of them that ever existed since the beginning of our galaxy is still slowly and extraordinarily efficiently burning their fuel of hydrogen. Their lives will likely be a 1,000 billion years.
That means an habitable world at a red dwarf could live far, far longer than one with a star like our Sun.