It’s Official: Astronomers Have Discovered another Earth

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope discovered an Earth-like planet circling a nearby star within the Goldilocks zone of our galaxy. Kepler-186f is around 500 light-years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. The habitable zone, also identified as the Goldilocks zone, is the area around a star within which planetary-mass objects with enough atmospheric pressure can sustain liquid water at their surfaces.

While it has been projected that there are at least 40 billion Earth-sized planets circling in our Milky Way Galaxy, this specific finding is labelled the first Earth-sized planet to be discovered in the habitable zone of another star.

In addition to Kepler-186f, there are 4 other planets that circle a nearby star within the Kepler-186f system. What this means is that if the neighbouring star to this planet is just like our Sun, then the likelihood of life on this planet exponentially increases.

“We know of only one planet where life survives – Earth. When we hunt for life outside our solar system, we emphasis on discovering planets with features that mimic that of Earth,” said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published in the journal Science. “Discovering a habitable zone planet similar to Earth in size is a major breakthrough.”

The neighboring star to Kepler-186f has half the mass and size as our solar system’s Sun and only gets one-third of the energy that we get from our Sun. Kepler-186f circles its star once every 130 days


It’s Official: Astronomers Have Discovered another Earth It’s Official: Astronomers Have Discovered another Earth Reviewed by Rauf ahmed on 11:04 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. The problem with finding a planet 500 light years away is we are looking at its very very distant past. As space expands that system is much further away so, even IF we could send a probe there moving at the speed of light in 500 year that star system would have moved elsewhere and the probe would be lost in space. We would have to be able to calculate where that system was heading and hopefully get there before it moved again.

    500 light years would be roughly, 2,160,216,000,000,000 that is 2.160 QUADRILLION YEARS (speed of light*seconds in a year*distance light travels). So what we are seeing is the planet and star system 2.160 QUADRILLION YEARS AGO. Our Solar system is roughly 5 BILLION YEARS OLD.

    Remember NOTHING we can see in space is in current time, all we can see is the distant past as light from those stars that have come AFTER US has not nor will EVER reach us, because as far as we are concerned they don't exist yet, just as something 500 light years away does NOT know we exist nor will ever know.

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    1. The trick is in the name of the unit--it's 500 light years away so we're seeing the star and its planets as they were 500 years ago. Either way, of course, it's impossibly far to travel with any kind of technology we might plausibly have now or in the future.

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