Toward the center of our galaxy, in a star system far away, is a planet with features that remind us of home.
Astronomers at New Zealand's University of Canterbury (UC) discovered a particularly rare super-Earth. "The new planet is among only a handful of extra-solar planets that have been detected with both sizes and orbits close to that of Earth," said UC in a release on Monday.
The newly spotted exoplanet's year lasts about 617 days and it travels around a much less massive star than the sun. It's located near the Milky Way's central bulge of stars. For scale, Earth is about 25,000 light-years away from the galactic center.
There's a lot of hope wrapped up in a term like "super-Earth," but there are no guarantees a planet in this category will look anything like our own. NASA describes super-Earths as "up to 10 times more massive than Earth," but says they may vary in composition from water worlds to icy planets to ones made mainly of gas.