Estimated distance of the nearest Earth-like planet
Astronomers have calculated that an alien Earth-like planet could be present just 13 light years or so away from us.
Astronomers usually get the impression of the planet through the NASA’s prolific planet-hunting Kepler space telescope that is looking at more than 150,000 stars simultaneously. Kepler detects the presence of planet, when the planet passes in front of the star. However, Kepler cannot detect every planet around every star that may be due to the plane for Kepler to observe the transits and the difference in the brightness.
The team of researchers worked on sample of 3,897 red dwarfs, which are the stars dimmer and smaller than the sun. They found 95 exoplanet candidates circling around them in which three have been found to be equivalent to the size of the Earth rotating around their stars in “Goldilocks zone,” where liquid water and probably life can be present.
Based on the observations, astronomers have reported that nearly 6% of red dwarfs in the Milky Way galaxy host Earth-like planets. As there are about 75% red dwarfs in the galaxy’s 100 billion stars, so it is estimated that 4.5 billion “alien Earths” could be there in the galaxy. However, this figure is based on the observed calculations and the number may be changed.
In another survey conducted by the Research Consortium on Nearby Stars, an international astronomical group led by Georgia State University, it has been found that about 248 red dwarfs are present within 30 light-years of our sun. Based on this survey, research team tried to find out the nearest Earth-like planet.
“It should be, hopefully, within 13 light-years,” lead author Courtney Dressing, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said during a press conference today.
This estimated distance increased to 21 light-years after applying the standard 95% confidence interval to their calculation.