Astronomers have just discovered two new 'Super-Earth' planets which could 'potentially host life'

If you're one of those people who's keen on the idea of aliens hanging out on nearby planets, there's good news: scientists think they've uncovered new evidence in this field.

Astronomers report that a number of "exoplanets" (aka planets which are outside of our solar system) have been discovered, and they could "potentially host life".

The discovery was published last week, revealing that there are two 'Super-Earths' currently orbiting one of the stars closest to us.

Super-Earths are planets with masses higher than Earth's but smaller than planets such as Uranus and Netpune. The term essentially refers to the size of the planet.

What makes these new ones exceptional is that they have a much better chance of retaining their atmosphere, which increases chances for life.

This is because they are orbiting the red dwarf star known as Gliese 887, which is just 11 light years from Earth.

This star has a "habitable zone" dubbed as such because water – essential to life as we know it – could exist. It's also much less active, making it's less prone to dangerous flares, which can destroy a planet's atmosphere.

The two new Super-Earths are located near to this habitable zone, increasing their chances of supporting life. Scientists also think the planet may be rocky, much like Earth.

That said, the planet's temperature is believed to be around 70C (158F).

Lead author of the study Dr Sandra Jeffers told science journal Nature that astronomers have been looking for signals in the GL 887 star for years.

She added that it's excising because "the central star is so quiet. That's the exceptional part."

Jeffers also said that:

These planets will provide the best possibilities for more detailed studies, including the search for life outside our Solar System.

And there's a possible third planet which could be even more suitable for life if it's further from the star and could have a temperature more suitable to liquid water.

Maybe don't pack up your suitcases for a trip to space just yet, but the discovery is certainly encouraging.

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