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Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Possibly Inhabitable Planet Discovered

It’s kind of a big deal. Here’s why.


Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet in the "habitable zone," or the distance from a star that a water can pool on the planet's surface.


Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet in the "habitable zone," or the distance from a star that a water can pool on the planet's surface.


While other Earth-like planets have been found, they've all been bigger than Earth, making understanding what they're made of a bit more challenging to understand.


Nasa Nasa / Reuters / Reuters


The new planet, Kepler-186f, resides about 500 light-years away from us in the constellation Cygnus (pictured below).


The new planet, Kepler-186f, resides about 500 light-years away from us in the constellation Cygnus (pictured below).


What scientists know: Its year is 130 days and that it gets one-third the heat energy that we do from our sun.


What scientists don't know (yet): Kepler-186f is likely to be very rocky, but researchers can't confirm its mass, density, or composition.


Astrobobo/Astrobobo


Wait, rewind. What is Kepler?


Wait, rewind. What is Kepler?


Kepler-186 is another system found using NASA's Kepler space telescope. The telescope, launched in March 2009, has discovered thousands of possible exoplanet candidates, with hundreds confirmed.


NASA / Via youtube.com


And what's an exoplanet?


And what's an exoplanet?


It's a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system.


AP Photo/NASA




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