NASA finds ‘Earth-sized habitable zone planet’ around 300 light years away via Keplar Telescope Data

Kepler-1649c  was discovered as the scientists were looking through old observations from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. 

Apr 17, 2020 14:59 IST
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An earth size exoplanet called Kepler-1649c has been found by the team of transatlantic scientists. The planet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone was discovered while reanalysing data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.

The zone is habitable due to the area around a star where the planet could support liquid water. This planet was discovered as the scientists were looking through old observations from Kepler. It was retired by the agency in 2018.

As per an associate administrator of NASA’s science mission directorate in Washington, the data gathered from missions like Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Kepler gives hope for amazing discoveries and refines science communities abilities to look for promising planets year after year.

Habitable planet Kepler- 1649c: Key Highlights

•  The planet was recognized as researchers took a second look at the signature which was earlier misidentified by a computer algorithm called Robovetter.

•  Of all the exoplanets found by Kepler, this one is located 300 light-years from Earth and is most similar to Earth’s temperature and size.

•  This new world is only 1.06times larger from Earth. The amount of starlight it receives from its host star is 75 percent of the light that Earth receives from the sun. This discovery makes its temperature similar to Earth.

•  This planet orbits a red dwarf. Even though they have not been observed in this system, this form of a star is known for stellar flares-up making the planet’s atmosphere challenging for any potential life.

•  A year on Kepler-1649c is equivalent to only 19.5 days on Earth, as it orbits its red dwarf star very closely.

Discovery of other planets:

By calculations, Teegarden c and TRAPPIST-1f and are some of the other exoplanets that are estimated to be closer to Earth in size. Other planets that may be closer to Earth in temperatures, such as TOI 700d and TRAPPIST- 1d.

Even though many things about Kepler- 1649c are still unknown, including its atmosphere and significant margins of error in the current calculations of planet size, it is still considered to be closer to Earth in both size and temperature.

Rechecking the False Positives of Rebovetter:

An algorithm Robovetter was developed by the scientists on the Kepler mission. It was aimed to sort through the massive amount of data that was produced by Kepler spacecraft.

The search for planets by Kepler was through using the transit method, by staring at stars and look for dips in brightness as planets passed in front of their host stars.

As most of the time, those dips came from various phenomena other than the planets, Robovetter was supposed to distinguish the 12% of dips that were real planets from rest. The signatures determined to be from any other resource were termed false positive.

With enormous tricky signals, astronomers identified that the algorithm could make a mistake that would need to be double-checked. By rechecking false positive, Kepler-1649c was discovered.

Possible discovery of the third planet:

Kepler-1649c is not only the best match to Earth but provides a new look at its home system in which for every nine times the outer planet orbits the host star, the inner planet also orbits almost exactly four times. Orbits matching up in such stable ratio indicate that the system is extremely stable and likely to survive.

The team looking for such a mystery planet was not getting any results that may be due to the small size of the planet. But this system has given an example of an Earth-like planet in a habitable zone of red dwarf, which is not too hot or too cold and can have the potential existence of life.

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