If it does, it is close enough that we could study that atmosphere in detail with the Hubble Space Telescope and future observatories like the Giant Magellan Telescope, researchers said.

"Our ultimate goal is to find a twin Earth, but along the way we've found a twin Venus," said astronomer David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in US.

The planet known as GJ 1132b orbits a red dwarf star only one-fifth the size of our Sun. The star is also cooler and much fainter than the Sun, emitting just 1/200th as much light.

GJ 1132b circles its star every 1.6 days at a distance of 1.4 million miles. It is also significantly cooler than any other exoplanet confirmed to be rocky, researchers said.

GJ 1132b was discovered by the MEarth-South array, which is dedicated to the hunt for terrestrial worlds orbiting red dwarf stars. The team also measured the host star's gravitational wobble using the HARPS spectrograph to determine the planet's mass.

The planet also has an Earth-like force of gravity. A person standing on the surface of GJ 1132b would weigh only about 20 percent more than they do on Earth.

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