Researchers at the University of Canterbury (UC) have discovered an incredibly rare new 'Super-Earth planet' towards the centre of the galaxy also called the 'Galactic Bulge' which is comparable in both size and orbit to that of planet Earth.
The new and rare planet is among only a handful of extra-solar planets that have been detected with both sizes and orbits close to that of Earth.
Using the solar system as a point of reference, the host star is about 10 per cent the mass of our Sun.
The planet would have a mass somewhere between that of Earth and Neptune and its orbit is at a location between Venus and Earth from the parent star.
Due to the host star having a smaller mass than our Sun, the planet would have a ‘year’ of approximately 617 days, the researchers noted.
The planet was discovered using a technique called gravitational microlensing. The microlensing effect is rare, with only about one in a million stars in the galaxy being affected at any given time.
This type of observation does not repeat, and the probabilities of catching a planet at the same time are extremely low.
According to the research published in The Astronomical Journal, Dr Herrera Martin -- the paper’s lead author has described the planet-finding discovery as incredibly rare.