Scientists discovered a previously hidden exoplanet from data that was provided by the Kepler Space Telescope.
The Kepler Space Telescope ran out of fuel in 2018.
Though its discovering days are behind it, its past findings keep on giving!
Data that was previously overlooked by NASA’s labeling algorithm was re-analyzed, and some scientists of the space agency reported the discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet.
About The Planet
The Earth-like exoplanet is situated about 300 light-years from Earth.
The most shocking detail about it is that NASA described it as “the most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature” out of the few thousands of exoplanets discovered by the space telescope.
The exoplanet populates its star’s habitable zone, an area where the climate allows liquid water to exist.
The exoplanet’s size is comparable to Earth’s size, though it’s a bit larger. It receives about three quarters the amount of light our planet receives from our sun. That is why scientists believe that its surface temperature is similar to Earth’s.
Importance Of The Discovery
Thomas Zurbuchen from NASA revealed why the discovery of the planet is a big deal:
“This intriguing, distant world gives us even greater hope that a second Earth lies among the stars, waiting to be found.”
However, the exoplanet is orbiting a red dwarf, which is prone to stellar flare-ups that pose a severe challenge to life as we know it.
Also, NASA warns that the atmosphere of the planet is still a mystery, and its size calculations might be a bit off.
The research was published in a paper in April in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Andrew Vanderburg, the lead author of the paper, said:
With red dwarfs almost everywhere around our galaxy, and these small, potentially habitable and rocky planets around them, the chance one of them isn’t too different than our Earth looks a bit brighter.”