Using Kepler astronomers have found a solar system with five terrestrial-type planets, with two in the habitable zone.


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Eden? Using Kepler astronomers have found a solar system with five terrestrial-type planets, with two in the habitable zone.

Using observations gathered by NASA’s Kepler Mission, the team, led by William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Center, found five planets orbiting a Sun-like star called Kepler-62. Four of these planets are so-called super-Earths, larger than our own planet, but smaller than even the smallest ice giant planet in our Solar System. These new super-Earths have radii of 1.3, 1.4, 1.6, and 1.9 times that of Earth. In addition, one of the five was a roughly Mars-sized planet, half the size of Earth. …

The two super-Earths with radii of 1.4 and 1.6 Earth radii orbit their star at distances where they receive about 41% and 120%, respectively, of the warmth from their star that the Earth receives from the Sun. The planets are thus in the star’s habitable zone; they have the right temperatures to maintain liquid water on their surfaces and are theoretically hospitable to life.

Theoretical modeling of the super-Earth planets, Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f, suggests that both could be solid, either rocky–or rocky with frozen water.

This is big news. Additional info can be found here and here.

One comment

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Very exciting stuff ! ! Even just 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed we could come this far, this fast, in our serach for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone…

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