ASTRONOMY

Smallest 'Exoplanet' Discovered

Astronomers have broken new ground in their quest to find Earth's twin by discovering a planet only twice the size of ours. Previous planets discovered beyond our system had been closer to the size of Jupiter. The planet orbits around its star in 3.15 days, making it far beyond the so-called "Goldilocks zone," where the environment is neither too hot nor too cold to host life. Astronomers in Chile used the "wobble technique" to discover the planet, a method in which one "infers the existence of orbiting planets from the way their gravity makes a parent star appear to twitch in its motion across the sky." Scientists are eagerly awaiting the next generation of telescopes that will allow them to examine the new planet in much greater detail.