The new study has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
A candidate for direct observation
Super-Earths have been spotted in other stars' habitable zones before. For example, a team using NASA's prolific Kepler Space Telescope announced the discovery of the potentially habitable world Kepler-22b in December 2011.
Kepler-22b lies 600 light-years away, which is not terribly far considering that our Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light-years wide. But HD 40307g is just 42 light-years from us — close enough that future instruments may be able to image it directly, scientists say.
"Discoveries like this are really exciting, and such systems will be natural targets for the next generation of large telescopes, both on the ground and in space," David Pinfield of the University of Hertfordshire, who was not involved in the new study, said in a statement.
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