Cosmic masquerade: Habitable planet isn't planet

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new study says a planet outside our solar system thought to be in the so-called Goldilocks zone is not even a real planet, but a cosmic masquerade.

Four years ago, scientists proclaimed they found what could be the first planet outside our solar system in the habitable zone around its star -- not too hot and not too cold for life. Now, other researchers have shown that what was found, Gliese 581 g, wasn't a planet.

Pennsylvania State University astronomer Paul Robertson said in a study published Thursday by the journal Science that what astronomers thought were two planets there turned out to be just magnetic outbursts from the local star. Three outside experts agreed.

There are still about 20 other planets in the habitable Goldilocks zone.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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