New planet found 32 light years away could hold answers to the evolution of Earth

A NEW planet the size of Neptune has been found orbiting a star 32 light years from Earth.

It could shed light on the evolution of Earth.

The exoplanet named Au Mic b, is much too hot to host life, say astronomers.

Its sun is only 20 to 30million years old — roughly 180 times younger than ours.

Nasa’s Dr Tom Barclay said: “Studying this planet can give us insight into how our own solar system formed.”

About 30,000 miles wide, Au Mic b is likely to be primarily comprised of gases — and may be the shape of a teardrop.

Co-author Dr Jonathan Gagne, of Montreal University, said AU Microscopii has a strong magnetic field – and will be very active.

He said: "It's a small star – with only about 50 per cent of the Sun's mass."

Astrophysicists have been searching for exoplanets in this solar system for more than a decade.

Dr Gagne added: "It took nearly 15 years to find AU Mic b.

"The numerous spots and eruptions on the surface of its sun hampered its detection – which was already complicated by the presence of the disc."

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