Baku. 24 July. REPORT.AZ/ Astronomers using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope announced Thursday the discovery of the most Earth-like planet yet orbiting a distant star like our own sun, bringing to a dozen the number of small worlds potentially suitable for life spotted elsewhere in the galaxy, Report informs citing foreign media.
According to the information, the newly discovered planet, called Kepler-452b, is the smallest to date found orbiting in the habitable zone of a distant star - the area where the water considered essential for life could exist.
Every 385 days, the planet circles a star slightly brighter than the sun, located about 1,400 light years away in the Constellation Cygnus.
The researchers don’t know the planet’s mass, but speculated that its gravity may be twice that on Earth.
The Kepler astronomers, however, have no direct evidence that the newly found planet can actually support life.
The space agency announced the find at a media briefing Thursday. The discovery was found by analyzing data on about 150,000 stars collected by the $600 million planet-hunting space telescope before it malfunctioned two years ago.
All told, the researchers are analyzing data about 4,696 potential exoplanets and have confirmed the existence of 1,028 exoplanets of all sorts. A dozen of them appear to be between one to two times the size of Earth, and orbit in their star’s habitable zone. Of these, nine orbit stars that are similar to the sun in size and temperature.
“We are the breadcrumbs of the universe,” said Kepler research scientist Jeff Coughlin