Earth-like planet discovered outside solar system

corot-7b

Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they have found the first confirmed Earth-like planet outside our solar system, a discovery that raises hopes of finding extraterrestrial life.

COROT-7b is about 500 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Monoceros, the Unicorn, and detailed observations show the planet to have a mass just five times that of the Earth.

Unfortunately, with daytime temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celsius (3,600 degrees Fahrenheit) and nighttime temps of minus 200, the environment on the planet is probably too severe to support life.

COROT-7b is only 2.5 million km away from its host star, or 23 times closer than Mercury is to the Sun. However the discovery suggests there may be planets with more hospitable conditions throughout the galaxy.