This is a pretty big milestone. The first Earth sized planet in a star’s habitable zone. Pity it’s so far away (500 light years) that spectral analysis probably won’t be possible to figure out what its atmosphere has in it.
The first Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of another star has been confirmed by observations with both the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory. The initial discovery, made by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, is one of a handful of smaller planets found by Kepler and verified using large ground-based telescopes. It also confirms that Earth-sized planets do exist in the habitable zone of other stars.
via First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed by Gemini and Keck observatories — ScienceDaily.
5 thoughts on “First potentially habitable Earth-sized planet confirmed by Gemini and Keck observatories — ScienceDaily”
500 light years? We could be there in a few weeks at warp 9.
Can I borrow yours? 🙂
As soon as I finish building it.
It seems like the relative lack of solar insolation might be a problem. Too far out, and CO2 freezes out of the atmosphere instead of providing greenhouse warming, although other gases would presumably be available. Mars gets more warming from the Sun than this planet does from its star, and part of the CO2 in Mars’ atmosphere freezes out in winters.
My understanding is that they take that into account when calculating the habitable zones. This star, being a red dwarf, is going to have a habitable zone much closer to it than the one around our star.
The issue I have read about before is that planets that close to those small stars are probably tidally locked (like our moon), keeping one side always facing the star and the other side always in the dark. So, one side might be broiling and the other side might be frozen, with maybe a small zone along the light terminator on the planet being conducive to life.