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MIT Scientists Discover New Exoplanet

This artist'’s conception shows GJ 1132b, a rocky planet similar to the Earth in size and mass, orbiting a red dwarf star. (Dana Berry/SkyWorks/NASA via AP)
This artist'’s conception shows GJ 1132b, a rocky planet similar to the Earth in size and mass, orbiting a red dwarf star. (Dana Berry/SkyWorks/NASA via AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a new exoplanet, named GJ 1132b.

An exoplanet is a planet that orbits a star other than our sun.

This artist'’s conception shows GJ 1132b orbiting a red dwarf star. (Dana Berry/SkyWorks/NASA via AP)
This artist'’s conception shows GJ 1132b orbiting a red dwarf star. (Dana Berry/SkyWorks/NASA via AP)

MIT researcher Zachory Berta-Thompson says though they know of thousands of exoplanets, this discovery is special because this exoplanet is one of the closest to Earth — only 39 light years away.

"We've known for a few years now that the galaxy is like a huge library of books out there but most of them are just too far away and we can't reach them to see what's inside, but GJ 1132b is the book that is on the shelf right in front of us."

The new planet is about the size of Earth, composed mostly of rock and iron, with temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

It orbits its star once every 1.6 days, which means it has a 1.6 day year.

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