Astronomers announced the discovery of the first star outside our sun to possess a planet in a stable, circular orbit. All the previously detected planets were so called ‘hot Jupiters,’ oversized gas giants in highly elliptical orbits close to their parent star. These giants are considered inimicable to life because they would disrupt the orbits of smaller, terrestrial worlds with their erratic orbits.
The newly discovered planet is in a stable, circular orbit roughly the same distance as Jupiter is from the sun. Jupiter’s position in the solar system is considered crucial for the development of life on earth. Scientists term Jupiter the solar system’s cosmic outfielder, snagging wayward asteroids and comets that might threaten to extinguish life on earth. This discovery raises the chances of someday imaging an earth-like world.