NASA reveals a new Exoplanet discovery. Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun.
Today NASA revealed a new exciting exoplanet discovery from the Kepler Space Telescope.
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The planet Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun. The habitable zone is a region around a star where temperatures are right for water to pool on the surface.
Scientists do not know if Kepler-452b can support life or not at this time. What is known about the planet is that it is about 60% larger than Earth, placing it in a class of planets dubbed "super-Earths."
While its mass and composition are not yet determined, previous research suggests that planets the size of Kepler-452b have a better than even chance of being rocky.
Kepler-452b orbits its star every 385 days. The planet's star is about 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. It is a G2-type star like our sun, with nearly the same temperature and mass. This star is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun. As stars age, they grow in size and give out more energy, warming up their planets over time.
Today Kepler-452b is receiving 10 percent more energy from its parent star than the Earth is from the Sun. If Kepler-452b had the same mass as Earth it would be on the verge of experiencing the runaway greenhouse effect and the loss of its water inventory.
However, since it is 60 percent bigger than Earth, it is likely to be approximately five Earth masses, which provides additional protection from the runaway greenhouse effect for another 500 million years. Kepler-452b has spent six billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth.
Since Kepler launched in 2009, twelve planets less than twice the size of Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of their stars. 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.
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More diagrams and images can be found on NASA.gov.