A Planet Very Similar To Earth Has Been Found
Scientists have announced that they have found a new planet that is likely to look a lot like Earth. Here’s what’s known about the planet KOI-456.04.
If you’re dreaming of planets that look like Earth in the distance, you can chart a new route for your dreams: the Kepler-160 star and the exoplanet KOI-456.04.
In a study led by astrophysicist René Heller of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, planets found around Kepler-160, about 3,000 light-years away, were studied. According to the data obtained, an exoplanet in this system (exoplanet, the name given to planets outside our solar system) may have a similar relationship with its own star to Earth.
The team’s research was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics. The planet KOI-456.04, by the name given by the Max Planck Institute, may be more than just another potentially habitable planet. The light it samples from its own star is very similar to the daylight seen on earth. And the orbital rotation of the exoplanet is similar to that of Earth.
How big is KOI-456.04?
KOI-456.04 is larger than Earth but this size difference is not doubled.
Most of the Earth-like planets found by scientists are around red dwarf stars, which can make planets in their systems uninhabitable by stellar flares. But the Kepler-160 star is similar in size and surface temperature to our Sun.
Researchers had previously found two exoplanets in the vicinity of Kepler-160 that were too hot to live. They also found KOI-456.04 while trying to solve oddities in the orbit of one of these planets. The team now thinks there are four planets in the system.
KOI-456.04 is located in the habitable zone of the system, where liquid water can be found on the surface.
Before we hope for a second Earth, though, it’s important reminding us that Kepler-160 is too far away to visit and we have no idea what its atmosphere looks like. And doubts about the planet’s existence have not yet been completely eliminated. According to the institute, the data is likely to be a statistical problem or a systematic measurement error. Still, the team says there’s an 85% chance it’s really a planet.