Astronomers have discovered 60 brand new planets which are orbiting stars near the Earth’s solar system.
The most notable is described as a hot “super-Earth” with a rocky surface located in the fourth nearest star system to the Sun, the Daily Mail reported.
The planet has been named Gliese 411b and shows “virtually all” the nearest stars to the sun have planets orbiting them and some of these “could be like Earth”.
The results are based on observations of 1600 stars taken over a 20-year period by US astronomers using the giant Keck-I telescope in Hawaii.
The Daily Mail reported the observations were part of the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, which was started in 1996 by astronomers Steve Vogt and Geoffrey Marcy from the University of California and Paul Butler, from the Carnegie Institute of Science, in Washington.
Dr Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire said: “It is fascinating to think that when we look at the nearest stars, all of them appear to have planets orbiting them.
“This is something astronomers were not convinced about, even as little as five years ago.
“These new planets also help us better understand the formation processes of planetary systems and provide interesting targets for future efforts to image the planets directly.”
The group’s paper has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal, the Daily Mail reported.