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Last Updated: Thursday September 30 2010 11:32 GMT

New Earth-like planet discovered

Artist's impression of new Earth-like planet discovered by astronomers

The discovery of a new Earth-like planet with conditions that could support life has got scientists really excited.

The planet is about the right distance from its Sun, so it's not too hot or cold for life to survive there.

It means the planet, which is called Gliese 581g, could have water and the right atmosphere.

The find has sparked hope that there are many more planets in space that could be home to living beings.

The new planet, which is a little bit wider than Earth, is about 120 trillion miles away. That sounds a crazily long way away, but in space terms it's actually pretty close.

R. Paul Butler, one of the astronomers who discovered the planet, said: "This suggests that potentially habitable planets are very, very common."