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Space & Astronomy

New Earth-like extrasolar planet discovered

By T.K. Randall
January 7, 2015 · Comment icon 18 comments



Has the Kepler Space Telescope discovered a second Earth ? Image Credit: NASA
The newly found Kepler 438b is being hailed by astronomers as the most Earth-like world ever found.
The discovery was announced at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Seattle on Tuesday and represents a major step forward in the search for other habitable worlds.

Kepler 438b is slightly larger and warmer than the Earth and orbits an orange dwarf star around 470 light years away. Its size and location places it within the 'Goldilocks' zone of its solar system where the temperature is just right for liquid water to flow on its surface.

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The planet was one of eight other potentially habitable extrasolar planets revealed during the American Astronomical Society meeting, with Kepler 438b being the most likely to support life. Another strong possibility is Kepler 442b which lies in the same constellation and is slightly larger.

It isn't clear if these distant worlds possess an atmosphere or if conditions there are suitable for life to survive, but with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and others like it we may soon be able to determine once and for all whether there really are other habitable worlds out there in the cosmos just waiting to be discovered.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by shrooma 8 years ago
So if we leave today, traveling at the speed of light, we can be there by 2485. I know some people I would like to volunteer to go on that mission. . top three OS....? .
Comment icon #10 Posted by HawkLord 8 years ago
aww damm it they found my holiday home again. Its such a hassle having to move every time they find me.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Ozfactor 8 years ago
We all know something else is out there . It is just a waiting game . Contact might have already happened and we just do not know about it . ps .... I love the term ' the goldilocks zone ' .
Comment icon #12 Posted by third_eye 8 years ago
Yup , Goldilocks knows the 'Just rights' she does ~
Comment icon #13 Posted by Karasu 8 years ago
"The planet was one of eight other potentially habitable extrasolar planets revealed during the American Astronomical Society meeting, with Kepler 438b being the most likely to support life." Watch it be a planet full of Shoggoths.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Karasu 8 years ago
40% hotter, I wouldn't call that habitable.
Comment icon #15 Posted by ovakynd 8 years ago
would be amazing to know for sure .
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
Until we get some clear and direct observations, none of the exo-planets may actually be planets, let alone earth-like ones. This is not true. Whilst it is true that the more massive exoplanets could possibly be brown dwarfs, the lower mass objects can not be stars. Since they are not stars but are in orbit around a star they must, by definition, be planets. Any planet in orbit around a star other than our sun is, by definition, an exoplanet. No direct observation is necessary, just an understanding of the scientific principles involved.
Comment icon #17 Posted by coolguy 8 years ago
I bet there is life on this planet
Comment icon #18 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard 8 years ago
This is not true. Whilst it is true that the more massive exoplanets could possibly be brown dwarfs, the lower mass objects can not be stars. Since they are not stars but are in orbit around a star they must, by definition, be planets. Any planet in orbit around a star other than our sun is, by definition, an exoplanet. No direct observation is necessary, just an understanding of the scientific principles involved. Meh, our opinions differ on this. That's okay. I certainly hope that they are planets, but that can only be proven with direct observations.


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