Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that's similar in size to our planet and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it's not too hot and not too cold for life.

Thursday's announcement excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way for potentially habitable planets outside our solar system.

NASA's Kepler telescope detected the planet. It's 10 percent larger than Earth and orbits a red dwarf star 500 light-years away. It resides in the habitable zone around its star where liquid water may exist without freezing or boiling away.

While Earth revolves around the sun in 365 days, this planet completes an orbit of its star every 130 days.

The discovery will appear in Friday's Science journal.

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