Astronomers have announced two planets are orbiting a tiny, old star 12 light-years away that almost meet every requirement to support life, reports CNN.

Scientists have estimated that the star is at least eight billion years old, nearly twice the sun's age, meaning the planets orbiting are presumably as ancient, reports National Geographic. Life, as we know it, could already have had enough time to evolve on the planets.

They are orbiting their star, known as Teegarden's star, at a distance that would support things like water flow and habitable temperatures.

Research, published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, reveals the star appears to be stable, without large solar flares or other violent activity that could threaten the potential for life on the two promising candidate planets.

Advertisement

If the orbit and rotation speeds recorded by astronomers is accurate, and there are no unexpected factors in the solar system to disrupt other calculations, Teegarden's two planets, which are almost exactly the same mass as the Earth, could host rocky environments and flowing water, according to CNN.

However, the assumptions are estimates by astronomers and not yet firsthand observations. The planet discoveries are part of a larger effort to locate life beyond Earth.