EMBARGOED TO 0500 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 19Undated handout photo issued by the University of Hertfordshire of an artist's impression of the Tau Ceti planetary system. A planet with conditions that could support life orbits a twin neighbour of the Sun visible to the naked eye, scientists have revealed. The world is one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a star just 12 light years away which is almost identical to the Sun. Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be two to six times more massive than Earth. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 19, 2012. One of them, with five times the EarthÕs mass, lies in the starÕs Òhabitable zoneÓ. Also known as the ÒGoldilocks zoneÓ, 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. Because of the difficulties involved in detecting extra-solar planets, most found so far have had high masses.The Tau City planetary family is thought to be the lowest mass solar system yet detected. See PA story SCIENCE Planet. Photo credit should read: J. Pinfield for the RoPACS network /PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
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