The planet, called Kepler-22b, is about 600 light years away. The star it orbits, called simply Kepler-22, is a bit lower mass and cooler than the Sun. The planet takes about 290 days to circle the star once, and as soon as I saw that number I let out a little “yip” of surprise
Kepler 22b is the first so-called “super-Earth” known to lie within the “habitable” zone of a star similar to our Sun.The new planet was discovered by Nasa’s Kepler space telescope two years ago but new research has identified it as the most similar to our own yet discovered. (NB: PLEASE NOTE THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE VIDEO)
Kepler 22b is about twice the size of Earth and has temperatures which average around 72 degrees (22 Celsius).Kepler-22b might be the right temperature, but it is probably closer in mass to icy Neptune than to Earth
It also contains the right atmosphere to potentially support life. However, there is a downside: it is 600 light years from Earth.
It lies right in the centre of the star’s habitable zone, where potentially perfect conditions exist for life.
From there, they can extrapolate. For the planet to be in a nice, nearly circular orbit, not too hot and not too cold, they figured out that it’s probably 2.4 times the diameter of Earth.
Kepler 22-b lies 15% closer to its sun than the Earth is to our Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However, the planet’s host star puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy temperature that would support the existence of liquid water.
The new planet — named Kepler-22b — has key aspects it shares with Earth. It circles a star that could be the twin of our sun and at just about the same distance. The planet’s year of 290 days is even close to ours. It likely has water and rock.
Dubbed the “Goldilocks Zone“, this is the band where temperatures are just right to allow the existence of surface liquid water throughout its orbit.