Google+ trends: Earth-like planet found, Romney's 'binders full of women'

On Wednesday, October 17, Google+ users are buzzing about the discovery of what is being termed an "Earth-like" planet orbiting the Alpha Centauri star system, while others are once again mocking US presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 

The Alpha Centauri system is a group of three gravitationally bound stars orbiting slightly more than four light-years away from the sun, making the system the sun's nearest neighbor. On Tuesday, October 16, research was released in the journal Nature by a team of scientists from the European Southern Observatory claiming to have found a planet with a similar mass to Earth orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, making it the closest planet to Earth ever discovered.

The newly discovered exoplanet, a term applied to planets that orbit stars other than the sun, is thought to complete an orbit every 3.2 Earth days and was discovered by examining stars for the effects of the small gravitational pull exerted by circling planets.  

Google+ users are excitedly sharing the news and, of course, debating as to whether extraterrestrial life could possibly exist on the newly discovered planet -- something that has been dismissed by scientists due to the high temperature of its surface.

Also causing a buzz is US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has become an internet hit after he uttered a badly thought-out phrase at the latest presidential debate.

At Tuesday night's debate Romney was attempting to explain how, as governor of Massachusetts, he searched for qualified women to fill cabinet posts when he uttered the phrase "I went to a number of women's groups and said can you help us find folks and they brought us whole binders full of women."

The phrase has swept the internet with "#WomenInBinders" trending in fourth place on Google+, becoming the subject of numerous memes and even inspiring several parody Twitter handles including @RomneyBinders (over 32,000 followers), and @Romneys_Binder (over 13,000 followers). The phrase even inspired a parody Tumblr account - bindersfullofwomen.tumblr.com.  

The top 5 most talked about topics on Google+ on October 17 at 9:40 AM GMT are:

01. #Debate
02. Microsoft
03. #HoneyBooBoo
04. #WomenInBinders
05. Alpha Centauri  

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