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You know how we’re always trying to discover if we are alone in this vast universe? Well, although signs of alien life still haven’t been found, scientists have discovered the next best thing, and that is a planet that neatly feats the description of a second Earth! 1,400 light-years away, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has spotted Kepler 452b, a rocky world 1.6 times Earth’s size, orbiting a star very similar to our Sun, at a distance very similar to the one our very own Earth has from our Sun, thus placing the newfound planet in its star’s habitable zone.

There are 4,696 planet candidates now known with the release of the seventh Kepler planet candidate catalog - an increase of 521 since the release of the previous catalog in Jan. 2015. The blue dots show planet candidates from previous catalogs, while the yellow dots show new candidates from the seventh catalog. New planet candidates continue to be found at all periods and sizes due to continued improvement in the detection techniques. Notably, several of these new candidates are near-Earth-sized and at long orbital periods, where they have a chance of being rocky with liquid water on their surface.  Credit: NASA
There are 4,696 planet candidates now known with the release of the seventh Kepler planet candidate catalog – an increase of 521 since the release of the previous catalog in Jan. 2015. The blue dots show planet candidates from previous catalogs, while the yellow dots show new candidates from the seventh catalog. New planet candidates continue to be found at all periods and sizes due to continued improvement in the detection techniques. Notably, several of these new candidates are near-Earth-sized and at long orbital periods, where they have a chance of being rocky with liquid water on their surface.
Credit: NASA

According to the Director of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life), Seth Shostak, the Allen Telescope Array is currently being employed in the search for signs of life on the planet, however, he characteristically states, “We haven’t looked over all the frequencies yet, but if there are any aliens on Kepler 452b they are being very coy.” Nevertheless, even if alien life is indeed not discovered on the planet, scientist explain that, because of the fact that the star which Kepler 452b is 1.5 billion years older than our Sun, its discovery provide us with a unique opportunity to witness how Earth is going to evolve in the future, as the sun ages and goes brighter.

Of the 1,030 confirmed planets from Kepler, a dozen are less than twice the size of Earth and reside in the habitable zone of their host star. The sizes of the exoplanets are represented by the size of each sphere. These are arranged by size from left to right, and by the type of star they orbit, from the M stars that are significantly cooler and smaller than the sun, to the K stars that are somewhat cooler and smaller than the sun, to the G stars that include the sun. The sizes of the planets are enlarged by 25X compared to the stars. The Earth is shown for reference. NASA
Of the 1,030 confirmed planets from Kepler, a dozen are less than twice the size of Earth and reside in the habitable zone of their host star. The sizes of the exoplanets are represented by the size of each sphere. These are arranged by size from left to right, and by the type of star they orbit, from the M stars that are significantly cooler and smaller than the sun, to the K stars that are somewhat cooler and smaller than the sun, to the G stars that include the sun. The sizes of the planets are enlarged by 25X compared to the stars. The Earth is shown for reference.
NASA

 

he diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun. Credits: NASA
he diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun.
Credits: NASA

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