Astronomers discover `mirror image` of the Earth and the Sun

Artist's impression of magma ocean planet

Chances of Finding Young Earth Like Planets Higher Than ly Thought Scientists Say University of Sheffield Mark Garlick

So far, nearly all exoplanets are less than twice the size of Earth that has the potential for clement surface temperatures and orbit around a red dwarf. That star is believed to have four planets orbiting. The study was led by astrophysicist René Heller of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany.

The prospects for finding young Earth-like planets are better than scientists thought, according to a new study published this week in the Astrophysical Journal. The periodicity of Kepler-160 c transits seemed however modulated by the presence of a third planet which does not transit. Be that as it may, the other potential planet they found is much more distinct and exciting. This star, also known under the designations KIC 7269974 and KOI-456, was observed by the Kepler space telescope between 2009 and 2013. The system has a star-planet distance that could permit planetary surface temperatures to support life. It is not as much as double the size of Earth and gets a comparative sum and sort of light from its sun-like star. That's similar to where Earth sits in relation to the sun. But more interesting was another - KOI-456.04, the radius of which is estimated at only 1.9 radius of the Earth, and a complete revolution in its orbit it makes for 378 days. The amount of light received from its host star is about 93 percent of the sunlight received on Earth. The planet could have liquid surface water and is considered potentially habitable.

The surface conditions on KOI-456.04 could therefore be similar to those known on Earth, provided that its atmosphere is not too massive and does not resemble that of Earth. The researchers said if the planet had a stable atmosphere with mild warming from a greenhouse effect similar to what Earth experiences, the average temperature would be similar to our planet's mean global temperature.

Its host star, called Kepler-160, actually emits visible light; the central stars of nearly all other exoplanets, on the other hand, emit infrared radiation, are smaller and fainter than the sun and therefore belong to the class of red dwarf stars.

The researchers discovered the two additional potential planets in the Kepler-160 system when they searched through Kepler data using a detailed model of variations of star brightness. The researchers remain cautious for the moment by considering this object only as a candidate, but report that it is all the same a promising candidate with 85% probability that it is really a planet and not of an instrumental artifact. They also lash their planets with highly energetic flares and radiation, which is why these planets are debated as potential hubs for life outside of our solar system.

Latest News