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Scientists find planet which 'could support life'

An artist's impression of the Tau Ceti planetary system, which scientists say could suport life. Credit: PA

Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire have discovered a planet with conditions which could support life.

The planet is in the Tau Ceti system, just 12 light years away. It's one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a sar visible to the naked eye and almost identical to our Sun.

Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be 2 to 6 times more massive than Earth. One of them, with five times the Earth's mass, lies in the star's 'habitable zone'.

Also known as the 'Goldilocks zone', this is the orbital region that is neither too hot nor too cold to allow liquid surface water and, potentially, life.

Details of the discovery are to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.