Scientists have discovered a super-Earth planet around a nearby star that could support life.

Research led by Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire, and Guillem Anglada-Escude, of the University of Goettingen, believe the planet may have an Earth-like climate.

The planet is in the habitable zone of the six-planet system. Initially, researchers thought the system only had three planets, all of which were too close to the star to support liquid water.

However, new data analysis techniques meant three more planets were discovered. Of these three, one - on the outermost orbit - has an orbit that is a similar distance between the Earth and our Sun.

This means it receives a similar amount of energy from the star, therefore increasing the probability that the planet could support life.

Hugh Jones, professor of astronomy at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "The new planet is expected to absorb about the same amount of energy from its star that the Earth absorbs from the Sun, allowing surface temperatures similar to Earth and perhaps liquid water.

"But this cannot be confirmed; further study will be necessary to understand more about the planet's atmosphere."

The dwarf star the planet orbits has been named GJ667C. The planet of interest has a mass of at least seven times of the Earth.

Scientists believe the planet is likely to be rotating on its own axis while it orbits around the star, so it would have a daytime and night time that is better for creating an Earth-like environment.

Jones added: "The longer orbit of the new planet means that its climate and atmosphere may be just right to support life. Just as Goldilocks liked her porridge to be neither too hot nor too cold but just right, this planet or indeed any moons that it has lie in an orbit comparable to Earth, increasing the probability of it being habitable."

Angla-Escude said: "There is no reason why such a planet could not sustain an Earth-like climate."

The scientists do note, however, that other factors would need to be in place for life to thrive on the planet.

"Still, the ultimate water supporting capability of this candidate depends on properties that are unknown such as its albedo, atmospheric composition and interior dynamics," they said.