Astronomers, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, have discovered HD 219134b, a rocket exoplanet located a mere 21 light-years away. While the planet itself can’t be seen directly, the star it orbits is visible to the naked eye in dark skies in the Cassiopeia constellation, near the North Star. It’s also the closest exoplanet to Earth to be detected transiting, or crossing in front of, its star and a “potential gold mine of science data,” says NASA. Continue reading for a video on how to locate the exoplanet in the night sky and more information.
“The planet is probably a bad place for life as we know it: it�s 1.6 times the size of Earth and more than four times the mass. Plus its three-day orbit is too close to its host star for liquid water to form, even though the star is cooler and smaller than our sun. Planets like this, referred to as super-Earths, are ubiquitous throughout the galaxy, but we still don’t know a lot about them. This new neighbor could help us better understand the formation of planets and solar systems in general,” reports The Verge.