milky way

milky way

'Most Earth-like planet yet' spotted by Kepler - 17th April 2014

1h ago
SOURCE  

Description

The most Earth-like planet yet has been discovered, scientists report in the journal Science. The rocky planet, Kepler 186f, is close to the size of Earth and has the potential to hold liquid water, which is critical for life, the team says. Nestled in the Milky Way, it is part of a five-planet system that orbits around a cool dwarf star. It was spotted by the Kepler telescope, which has found nearly 1,000 new worlds since its launch in 2009. "This is the smallest planet we've found so far in the habitable zone," said Prof Stephen Kane, an astrophysicist from San Francisco State University, US. Kepler 186f is about 500 light-years away from the Earth. The researchers estimate that is a little bigger than our planet, with a radius that is about 10% larger than ours. Because of its size, the team believes it is a rocky planet. Prof Kane explained: "There seems to be a transition that occurs at about 1.5 times the Earth's radius, such that if the planet is larger, then it starts to develop a very substantial atmosphere very similar to what we see in the gas giant planets in our own Solar System. "And so anything less than 1.5 is probably more like a rocky planet that we are familiar with." Kepler 186f travels around a small and cool star. Of the five planets in the system, its orbit is furthest out and lasts about 130 days. The team believes that it has the potential to hold water because with this orbital path it does not journey too close to its star for the liquid to boil away or so far out that it would freeze. Scientists call this region the "habitable zone". Prof Kane said: "Even though it is orbiting a star which is very different from our Sun, the planet itself - both in terms of size and the amount of energy it is receiving from its star - is the most similar planet to our Earth that we've yet discovered. "That is great news in terms of looking for planets which might actually be similar to the Earth, especially as the kind of star it does orbit - which is a very small star - are amongst the most common in the galaxy. "And if all of these very common small stars have lots of terrestrial-sized planets in the habitable zone then that is very good news." However, these small stars also tend to be more active than stars the size of the Sun.t Tags: abc breaking news, bbc, bbc football, bbc iplayer, bbc news, bbc news america, bbc persian, bbc sport, bbc weather, bbc world news, breaking celebrity news, breaking election news, breaking late news, breaking local news, breaking music news, breaking news, breaking news alerts, breaking news canada, breaking news headlines, breaking news in atlanta, breaking news in nigeria, breaking news india, breaking news pensacola florida, breaking news plane crash, breaking news story, breaking sports news, business expensive news home media world, christian world news, cnn, cnn breaking news, cnn money, cnn news, cnn news breaking news, cnn news world, detroit breaking news, global news, headline, headline news, health care technology news, hot latest global news, internet technology news, las vegas breaking news, latest breaking news, latest celebrity news, latest information technology news, latest music news, latest news, latest news headlines, latest news update, latest sports news, live breaking news, local breaking news, local news today, msn breaking news, nbc breaking news, nbc world news, news of the world, news report us world, news today news, news updated daily, solar technology news, sports news today, technology news, the latest news, today news, us news and world, us news and world report, us news and world report magazine, us news and world report web site, us news world report, world news, world news daily, world news headlines,Ukrainian,Ukraine Protest,Ukraine Crisis,Ukraine Ex-Leader,Top World News,Today World News,World News Today,Latest Today World News.