A newfound alien planet located “just” 16 light years away from Earth might be able to support life, a new study has shown.

To get some perspective, the Milky Way is approximately 100,000 light-years across. The closest planet to our solar system is Proxima Centauri – 4.2 light-years away. A recent study concluded that there are likely billions of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, but few of them are this close to us.

Gliese 832c is a “super-Earth” – a rocky planet just like the one we live on, and but 5 times more massive. It lies much closer to its star than Earth from the Sun – it takes it just 36 days to make one full orbit around its star; however, because it orbits a much cooler red dwarf, Gliese 832c receives about as much energy as Earth does. Interestingly enough, despite all these differences, in a way, it’s very much like Earth.

Gliese 832c orbits its host star every 36 days.

However, the host star is a red dwarf that’s much dimmer and cooler than our sun, so Gliese 832c receives about as much stellar energy as Earth does, despite orbiting much closer to its parent, researchers said.


‘This makes Gliese 832 c one of the top three most Earth-like planets and the closest one to Earth of all three, a prime object for follow-up observations,’ said Abel Mendez Torres, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.

‘So far, the two planets of Gliese 832 are a scaled-down version of our own Solar System, with an inner potentially Earth-like planet and an outer Jupiter-like giant planet,’ the team wrote.

‘The giant planet may well played a similar dynamical role in the Gliese 832 system to that played by Jupiter in our Solar System. ‘

However, it’s unclear at the moment just how much Gliese 832c resembles Earth. Indeed, its discoverers think the newfound world may be more similar to scorching-hot Venus, with a thick atmosphere that has led to a runaway greenhouse effect.