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A possible Earth twin has been confirmed orbiting a sunlike star 600 light-years away—and the new planet may be in just the right spot for supporting life, NASA announced Monday. Discovered by the Kepler space mission , the new planet—dubbed Kepler-22b—is the first world smaller than Neptune to be found in middle of its star's habitable zone. Also called the Goldilocks zone, the habitable zone is the region around a star where a planet's surface is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water—and thus life as we know it—to exist. (Also see "New Planet May Be Among Most Earthlike—Weather Permitting." ) Other planets have been spotted in the habitable zones of their stars, but most of those worlds are Jupiter - or Neptune-size bodies that are unlikely to harbor life.
Alright, this one's a doozy. After the reasonable popularity of last week's scale picture that illustrated the distance between the Earth and the Moon, I just had to take things to the next logical level . Today I've reduced the scale, and increased the image size dramatically, to represent one astronomical unit (AU), or the distance between the earth and the Sun.*