Three decades after Cornell astronomer Carl Sagan suggested that Voyager 1 snap Earth's picture from billions of miles away -- resulting in the iconic Pale Blue Dot photograph -- two astronomers now offer another unique cosmic perspective: Some exoplanets -- planets from beyond our own solar system -- have a direct line of sight to observe Earth's biological qualities from far, far away.

Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy at Cornell University and director of Cornell's Carl Sagan Institute; and Joshua Pepper, associate professor of physics at Lehigh University, have identified 1,004 main-sequence stars (similar to our sun) that might contain Earth-like planets in their own habitable zones -- all within about 300 light-years of Earth -- and which should be able to detect Earth's chemical traces of life.

The paper, "Which Stars Can See Earth as a Transiting Exoplanet?" was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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