NASA’s Kepler mission has found three super-Earth size planets in two newly discovered planetary systems. These planets are present at such a distance, i.e. “habitable zone” from their stars that the chances of liquid water are high on these planets.
Science, Astrophysical Journal
The Kepler space telescope is the NASA’s first mission to detect the Earth-sized planets around the stars similar to our sun.
The newly discovered two planetary systems are as follows:
|Two new planetary systems and their planets|
|Kepler-62 system||62b, 62c, 62d, 62e and 62f|
|Kepler-69 system||69b and 69c|
Among these seven newly discovered planets, Kepler-62e, 62f and 69c are the super-Earth-sized planets. You can look at some of the features of these planets below:
|Some features of the newly discovered planets|
Scientists are still working on the planets to confirm whether life could exist there or not.
“The Kepler spacecraft has certainly turned out to be a rock star of science,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement. “The discovery of these rocky planets in the habitable zone brings us a bit closer to finding a place like home. It is only a matter of time before we know if the galaxy is home to a multitude of planets like Earth, or if we are a rarity.”
Among the other planets of Kepler-62 system, Kepler-62b, Kepler-62c and Kepler-62d orbit every five, 12 and 18 days, respectively, and that is why they are very hot and inhospitable for life as we know it. This system has the star classified as K2 Dwarf. It is two-thirds of the size of the sun and one-fifth as shiny as sun. It is 7 billion years old and located about 1,200 light-years away from us in the constellation Lyra.
Kepler-69b, the other planet in this system, is twice the size of Earth and rotates around its star in just 13 days. This system has star with the same class as our sun, called as G-type. It is 93% the size of the sun and 80% bright. It is located at a distance of about 2,700 light-years away from us in the constellation Cygnus.
“We only know of one star that hosts a planet with life, the sun. Finding a planet in the habitable zone around a star like our sun is a significant milestone toward finding truly Earth-like planets,” said Thomas Barclay, Kepler scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute in Sonoma, Calif., and lead author of the Kepler-69 system discovery published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Barclay, T., Burke, C., Howell, S., Rowe, J., Huber, D., Isaacson, H., Jenkins, J., Kolbl, R., Marcy, G., Quintana, E., Still, M., Twicken, J., Bryson, S., Borucki, W., Caldwell, D., Ciardi, D., Clarke, B., Christiansen, J., Coughlin, J., Fischer, D., Li, J., Haas, M., Hunter, R., Lissauer, J., Mullally, F., Sabale, A., Seader, S., Smith, J., Tenenbaum, P., Kamal Uddin, A., & Thompson, S. (2013). A SUPER-EARTH-SIZED PLANET ORBITING IN OR NEAR THE HABITABLE ZONE AROUND A SUN-LIKE STAR The Astrophysical Journal, 768 (2) DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/768/2/101
Borucki, W., Agol, E., Fressin, F., Kaltenegger, L., Rowe, J., Isaacson, H., Fischer, D., Batalha, N., Lissauer, J., Marcy, G., Fabrycky, D., Desert, J., Bryson, S., Barclay, T., Bastien, F., Boss, A., Brugamyer, E., Buchhave, L., Burke, C., Caldwell, D., Carter, J., Charbonneau, D., Crepp, J., Christensen-Dalsgaard, J., Christiansen, J., Ciardi, D., Cochran, W., DeVore, E., Doyle, L., Dupree, A., Endl, M., Everett, M., Ford, E., Fortney, J., Gautier, T., Geary, J., Gould, A., Haas, M., Henze, C., Howard, A., Howell, S., Huber, D., Jenkins, J., Kjeldsen, H., Kolbl, R., Kolodziejczak, J., Latham, D., Lee, B., Lopez, E., Mullally, F., Orosz, J., Prsa, A., Quintana, E., Sasselov, D., Seader, S., Shporer, A., Steffen, J., Still, M., Tenenbaum, P., Thompson, S., Torres, G., Twicken, J., Welsh, W., & Winn, J. (2013). Kepler-62: A Five-Planet System with Planets of 1.4 and 1.6 Earth Radii in the Habitable Zone Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1234702