NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered a Habitable Earth-like Planet, Kepler-22b
Science & Technology Current Affairs 2011. A team of researchers from NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered a habitable earth-like planet, called Kepler-22b
A team of researchers from NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered a habitable earth-like planet, called Kepler-22b. This newly discovered planet orbits around a sun-like star 600 light years away from the planet earth. The star is loacted near the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus. The team of researchers used photometric data from the NASA Kepler space telescope. The telescope monitors the brightness of 155000 stars. When earth size planet periodically passes in front of their stars, it results in tiny dimming of their host star’s dimming, which is measured by a space telescope like Kepler. The planet is very much similar to earth in key aspects. It has a surface temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit and it is likely to have water and land. The research team was led by William Borucki of the NASA Arms research centre.
The star was categorized as a G5 star. It has a mass and radius smaller than that that of the Sun. It makes the star 25 percent less luminous than the Sun.
NASA's Kepler mission confirmed its first planet in the habitable zone, the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun.The planet has an orbital period of 290 days in comparison of 365 days of planet earth. It is orbiting in the middle of the star’s habitable zone, where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet. The new exoplanet has the smallest radius amongst all the planets so far discovered.