Goldilocks planet orbiting Tau Ceti

Time to grab that old copy of Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed off the bookshelf and take some time to think about what it might mean to have a habitable planet just 12 light-years from here.

The news is that Tau Ceti, a star very much like our Sun, has a planet around 5 times as massive as Earth orbiting in its Goldilocks zone (that means it could be 5 times the diameter of Earth — but then it could have a moon massive enough to retain an atmosphere, like Titan). Its estimated distance from its star puts the planet in a position to possibly have an atmosphere and open water that could sustain life as we know it. This is the least massive planet yet detected in the Goldlocks zone of a star.