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Dr Karan Singh

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Space Exploration

Kepler 22-b - An Earth-like planet found

Photo Courtesy NASA

On December 5, 2011, astronomers confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the "habitable zone" around a star not unlike our own. The planet, as yet known as ‘Kepler 22-b’, lies in a far-flung world about 600 light-years away. It is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C. However, we do not know, as yet, if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid. While the planet is larger than Earth, its orbit of 290 days around a sun-like star resembles that of our world. The planet's host star belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.

Of the 54 habitable zone (the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface) planet candidates reported in February 2011, Kepler-22b is the first to be confirmed.


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