back to article We all deserve a break. Pack your bags. Four Earth-like worlds found around nearby Tau Ceti

Scientists have found tantalizing signs that there are four Earth-like planets orbiting Tau Ceti, a Sun-like star just 12 light-years away. And two of those worlds could be home to life. There has been a lot of interest in the possibility of planets around Tau Ceti, since it has a similar mass and composition as our own Sun. …

  1. corestore

    We've found Ceti Alpha... what?!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Amorous Cowherder

    Game designer Pete Cooke knew about this 30 years ago!

    Anyone else remember playing Tau Ceti the game on an 8 bit back in the 1980's?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Game designer Pete Cooke knew about this 30 years ago!

      I remember coming out of a firefight with no compass or scanner to navigate by. Knowing there was a jump pad to the west, I just drove into the sunset.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Game designer Pete Cooke knew about this 30 years ago!


      Shame about the sequel, though.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Packing bags now....

    Try and keep this NEWS from Trump and his miserable cronies.

    There's just gotta be an escape.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Packing bags now....

      NO!!!! You have it wrong. Pack his and all his cronies bags and let's toss in a few from the Brits. They deserve a break also.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Packing bags now....

        It would probably appeal to 17million Brits - depending on what they find, they would have complete control over their own destiny, no immigrants, the opportunity for free trade agreements with all the other planets in the system. What's not to like? Start building that B Ark now.

  4. Long John Brass Silver badge


    Tau Ceti, a Sun-like star just 12 million light-years away.

    12 light-years not 12 million

    1. hekla

      Re: Ummmm

      A better measure of distance would be AU and T-Ceti is about 794 000 AU away and remember the Voyager probes launched many years ago have travelled 40 AU

      1. cbars

        Re: Ummmm

        Goodness me they're moving quickly! In the three hours since you posted that Voyager1 has moved out to 138AU!

        Either that or we're playing the quote-random-numbers game ;)

        To be fair 40 vs 138 c.f. 794000 (a number I have not checked) is about equal

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Ummmm

          Yes, but Vger is old technology - now we can power our vehicles with renewable electricity, which is much faster. Just needs a very long wire...

      2. Jamesit

        Re: Ummmm

        "the distance between the Sun and Pluto ranges between 30-40 AU"

        I thought the Voyager probes were a lot farther than that.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Ummmm

      Doh - accidentally introduced during the edit. It's fixed. Don't forget to email if you spot a problem.


  5. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    What do you mean we can't bring our cat? What are we going to do for videos to send back to earth?


    1. John F***ing Stepp

      No, the cat is probably fine; humans, however, are likely to be considered an invasive species.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      One cat is fine, just make sure it's not pregnant. We know what cats evolve into during long space voyages

      1. MrRimmerSIR!


        It's cold outside...

    3. Simon Harris Silver badge

      @Eddy Ito

      So that's why Ripley went back to rescue Jonesy.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    The high-energy impacts could destroy the delicate chemical processes needed to kickstart life.

    Or alternatively, be providing the impetus to start it. Though what develops may need rather impatient chromosomes...

  7. Milton Silver badge

    12 ly not 12 million

    Which is what makes the news much more interesting and relevant, since we are arguably within reach of technologies that could get us there - space arks, generation ships etc.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: 12 ly not 12 million

      we are arguably within reach of technologies that could get us there - space arks, generation ships etc.

      Well, if not us, the descendants of the 'us' that board the things centuries earlier or the possibly brain damaged remnants of humanity that crawl out of the cryo tubes and start to eating each other...

  8. Mage Silver badge

    Colonization dilemma

    If it's inhabitable, it probably is inhabited.

    Do we want to repeat Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, South America again?

    1. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Colonization dilemma

      If we can get to them then they can get to us.

      I, for one....

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Colonization dilemma

      If any of those planets are inhabited then the chances of them being at a comparable level of development as ourselves are astronomical. Either they are so far behind they are to us animals, or they are so far ahead as to make US the primitives. The only chance that we are comparably developed is if technological advancement stalls at a certain point and we are already very close to that point. Which would be a depressing thought.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Colonization dilemma


        as to make US the primitives

        Europeans have been saying that about USians for years...

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Colonization dilemma

          I think I'd rather live on the same planet as amoebae and primitive plants, than share one with Trump.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: comparable level of development

        So it's acceptable to stomp over less developed worlds?

        No, I don't think so. Unethical. Let's treat this world properly first.


        Less than 14% of people here consume 75%+ of resources. (Mostly USA, yet one of the biggest rich-poor divides in G20).

        Plastics pollution in ocean.

        Hormone and Antibiotics.

        Habitat destruction.

        Species extinction.

        1. oldfartuk

          Re: comparable level of development

          And lets not forget the inevitable Tau Ceti War of Independance, followed by the Tau Ceti Civil War. Marvellous opportunities to sell arms.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Colonization dilemma

        they are so far behind they are to us animals

        - Which, generally, has been our mindset when establishing our brand of civilisation on places far from home her on earth.

    3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Colonization dilemma

      Of course we do. How else will we find nice new holiday destinations? Lying on a beach under twin suns for a fortnight drinking exotic cocktails served by the local life-forms is so much nicer than Bognor in the rain.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Colonization dilemma

        Even a weekend in Slough is so much nicer than Bognor in the rain.

        1. DailyLlama

          Re: Colonization dilemma

          Let's not get silly now!

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Colonization dilemma

        How else will we find nice new holiday destinations?

        - Give it five years and it'll be cheaper than Tenerife - last I looked it worked out cheaper to holiday on the other side of the planet than nip down to the southern edge of Europe for a bit of Sun.

        1. oldfartuk

          Re: Colonization dilemma

          There was a story a few months ago of a guy who works in Central London, near City Airport, its actually cheaper and quicker for him to live in Spain, and every morning goes: taxi to spanish airport, fly the City Airport, taxi to work from City airport, than it is to live anywhere in the UK and commute.

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Colonization dilemma

      I'm rather worried about the californication dilemma.

  9. el kabong

    Tau Ceti is 12 light years away form us not 12 million.

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge


    Looking at our neighborhood, it seems there's a major condition for a planet to host life: a magnetic field strong enough to deflect solar winds. When we'll be able to measure such magnetic fields on distant planets we can start to pack our bags.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Lifeability

      That's only relevant for natural evolution - if you're willing to become a proper, mine-dwelling gem-seeking (and my axe!) Professional Dwarf you're free to move in with or without magnets...

    2. h4rm0ny

      Re: Lifeability

      Somewhere out there, there's a life-form that evolved in an environment heavy with solar winds looking at an Earth-like planet and thinking: 'but with a strong magnetosphere deflecting the solar radiation, life probably never got started'.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Lifeability

        Isn't the problem with solar winds on planets without magnetospheres to slowly lose their atmosphere as opposed to giving everybody radiation induced superpowers?

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Lifeability

          If iron is typical in material present to build planets from, and if what we think we know about planet formation is correct,then there is a good chance that rocky planets will have a molten iron core that is spinning - so a magnetic field is probably more common than not.

      2. oldfartuk

        Re: Lifeability

        I bet they dont have a cricket team that can beat the Australians, though.

        Mind you, neither do we..............

  11. Johnny Canuck

    Men are from Tau Ceti F and women Are from Tau Ceti E

    1. poohbear

      "Men are from Tau Ceti F and women Are from Tau Ceti E"

      Please don't tell Google.

  12. nickx89

    'Just' that far!

    If you mean by saying "just 12 light-years away" is equal to 12 x (9.46 trillion kilometers in vacuum) then yes! it's "just" that away. If astronomers says this being behind such far distance then how many many years it would take them to create such technology to travel at much faster speed than light of travel.

    1. oldfartuk

      Re: 'Just' that far!

      It wouldnt matter. Once they have created faster than light travel, they can travel back in time to the point they started to invent it, so that it only takes seconds.

      You need to watch more Sci-fi movies.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    What an astonishingly sensitive technique.

    Reading the sunlight frequency shift depending on wheather the planet is "going away" or "coming toward" you.

    Sadly all the paper has is that none of them is > 4 x M(earth) which is still pretty tough.

    But the level it has to be improved to clearly sets a plan for future work.

  14. Sanguma

    Taucetacean Hope Association

    Don't worry - they're too busy fighting each other to come over and conquer us:

    Fear In A Tau Ceti Refugee Camp

    In fact, it seems rather like certain parts of this planet at this time.

  15. Pedigree-Pete

    Light speed or lack of it......

    A bit of simple googling and some wiki stuff reveals 1 LY = roughly 20,000 years at todays speeds.

    Launched in 1977 Voyager One is now at a light distance of 17 hours and 24 minutes. PP

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