Planets which may be habitable like Earth have been discovered by scientists
Scientists believe the planets are located in an area that is not too hot or cold to support liquid water – a requirement for life.
Stars which are similar in size to our Sun are considered the best targets for finding habitable Earth-like planets.
Dr Fabo Feng, lead researcher and a research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “We’re getting tantalisingly close to observing the correct limits required for detecting Earth-like planets.”
The different sizes in movement were comparable to Earth, between 10 and 30 centimetres a second.
Dr Feng said: ”Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogues and the understanding of the Earth’s habitability through comparison with these.”
The scientists now hope to use direct imaging of the two outer planets to zero in on their surfaces to determine whether they are rocky and habitable.
Two planets, dubbed “super-Earths”, have been discovered in the habitable zone of a star
We’re getting tantalisingly close to observing the correct limits required for detecting Earth-like planets
“This enabled us to verify the existence of the two outer, potentially habitable, planets in the system.”
But the researchers concede that a massive disc of debris around the star could be bombarding them with asteroids and comets and may reduce their habitability.
The news comes as researchers from France’s Université Côte d’Azur, the US’s Southwest Research Institute and the European Space Agency, discovered a cluster of huge ancient asteroids near Mars which reveal the secret origins of the universe.
What are exoplanets
Six of the planets lie in the habitable zone of a cool dwarf-star known as TRAPPIST-1 which is 39 lightyears from Earth.
And the planets have a surface temperature ranging from zero to 100 degrees celsius – the temperature region which is perfect for supporting life.
Of these six, at least three of the planets have an ocean – and scientists state that anywhere on Earth you find water, you are likely to find life, which is why astronomers look for these on other planets.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, said: “The discovery gives us a hint that finding a second earth is not just a matter of if but when.
“Are we alone out there, we are making a leap forward to answering this question.”