NASA Confirms the Existence of a New Planet in Habitable Zone with Sun-Like Star
On Monday the scientists at the NASA confirmed that for the first time they have found a new planet, which exists in a “habitable zone” and has a star like our Sun. “Habitable zone” is the area which is distant from the star as much as to have an appropriate temperature which will permit the existence of liquid water.
The new planet called Kepler—22b is in the middle of the “habitable zone”, which is considered to be the ideal place for life, where water neither freezes nor boils. The temperature on Kepler-22b is near 22 degrees Celsius/72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The new planet circles around a star which can be called the twin of Earth’s Sun and has almost the same distance. The planet’s year has 290-day-long, which is also close to that of Earth. The new planet is about 2.4 times radius of Earth. With all these similarities we still don’t know what composition Kepler—22b has, whether it is rocky, gaseous or liquid.
Geoff Marcy of University of California, Berkeley, calls this discovery phenomenal: “This is a phenomenal discovery in the course of human history. This discovery shows that we Homo sapiens are straining our reach into the universe to find planets that remind us of home. We are almost there.”
The new planet was found using the Kepler telescope, which aims to find habitable planets. Previously they have also hinted at the existence of near-Earth-size planets in habitable zones but they proved to be elusive. Kepler-22b is more promising, but don’t hurry to get ready for a planet tour, it is 600 light years away from the Earth. 1 light year is the distance that light goes during a year.
Chief Kepler scientist William Borucki thinks that the new planet is somewhere between Earth and gas-and-liquid Neptune but has a lot of rocky material. So, let’s wait for more information that NASA will provide us and meanwhile consider Kepler—22b as a Christmas gift, as Borcuki says: “It’s a great gift, we consider this sort of our Christmas planet”. I’d add: “Only it came a little earlier.”