Howdy, neighbors! Teegarden's star is just 12.5 light-years away.
As far as the universe goes, Teegarden's star, a faint red-dwarf, is located pretty much next door. Astronomers have discovered two intriguing planets located in the star's habitable zone where they could possibly host liquid water.
A research team led by the University of Gottingen in Germany announced the Earth-like exoplanet discovery on Tuesday. Teegarden's star sits just 12.5 light-years away from us, but it's very different from our own sun. It's much cooler and dimmer and wasn't even discovered until 2003.
"The two planets resemble the inner planets of our solar system," said Mathias Zechmeister, lead author of a study on the exoplanets in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. They are both slightly heavier than Earth and might be part of a larger system with more planets.
Before we get too excited, it's important to remember that "Earth like" is no guarantee of a planet hosting life.
The discovery came about through the Carmenes project, which is focused on finding exoplanets around small, cool stars. Carmenes had already located nine other exoplanets.
One fun feature of the planets around Teegarden's star involves the star's particular location. Possible alien occupants could conceivably look toward our solar system and spot Earth transiting the sun. This creates a faint dimming of our own star as our planet passes in front of it.
Perhaps at the same time we're looking toward Teegarden's star, extraterrestrials are looking back at us, wondering if Earth could sustain life as they know it. In this wide, wonderful universe, it's a possibility.