Artist's conception of the five-planet Tau Ceti system (Photo: J. Pinfield/RoPACS/University of Hertfordshire)
Comparison of the smaller Tau Ceti to the Sun. It is a bit smaller, cooler, and more stable than the Sun (Photo: R.J. Hall)
Our stellar neighborhood is becoming crowded courtesy of some newly discovered real estate. Astronomers have uncovered evidence buried in the noise of apparently empty data showing that five super-Earths are orbiting the nearby Tau Ceti – a star chosen as one of the targets in the pioneering 1960 Project OZMA search for extraterrestrial life because of its strong similarity to the Sun. Better yet, the two outermost of Tau Ceti's planets appear to be in the star's habitable zone, making them the closest known potentially habitable exoplanets.
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