NASA finds most Earth-like planet having 13 months a year

Kepler 452b, orbits its star in 385 days, may harbour life with possible rocky surface, liquid water

Photo by: NASA
Photo by: NASA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Astronomers have found the planet most similar to Earth, the US space agency NASA announced on Thursday.

“In my mind, this is the closest thing we have to another planet like the Earth,” NASA astronomer Jon Jenkins has told reporters.

Dubbed as Earth 2.0, Kepler 452b is about 5 times larger than Earth and revolves around its star which is 1.4 billion years older than our 4.6 billion year old Sun.

Kepler 452b is located in the habitable zone, meaning its distance from its sun is adequate enough that liquid water can be found on the surface, scientists say.

“That’s considerable time and opportunity for life to arise somewhere on its surface or in its oceans should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet,” Jenkins said.

“With a radius 60 percent larger than the Earth, this planet has a somewhat better than even chance of being rocky.”

The planet which orbits its start in 385 day or almost 13-earth months is located in the Cygnus constellation which is 1,400 light years away.

The Kepler telescope was launched in 2009 to pursue earth-like planets in neighbouring star systems. The telescope has confirmed 1,030 planets and found 4,700 candidates.

The exoplanets cannot be seen directly from the telescopes on earth or those in orbit. Astronomers analyse the light coming from the star and search for discrepancies, occurring when the possible planets pass in front of our line of view.

According to statistics deduced from the data gathered by Kepler, astronomers estimate that 2 billion stars in Milky Way may have planets which may potentially be suitable for life.

TRTWorld and agencies