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Beyond Earthly Skies

A Potential Super-Venus

23 May 2013, 11:28 UTC
A Potential Super-Venus
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Kepler-69c is an exoplanet with ~1.7 times the dimeter of Earth and it orbits around a Sun-like star located about 2700 light-years from Earth. Because it is somewhat larger than Earth, Kepler-69c is in the category of a “super-Earth” type of planetary object. This exoplanet was detected by Kepler - a planet-hunting space telescope. Kepler’s main objective is to detect Earth-size planets within the habitable zone of their parent stars.In our solar system, the planets Venus and Earth are approximately the same size, with Venus orbiting slightly closer to the Sun than Earth. However, both planets harbour very different surface conditions. The thick carbon dioxide atmosphere on Venus generates a strong greenhouse effect that is responsible for the hellish surface temperatures which makes the planet inhospitable for life. As a result, it is worth considering how likely an Earth-size planet will turn out to be Venus-like or Earth-like, and at what point this divergence is expected to occur.Figure 1: An artist’s concept of the Kepler-69 planetary system in comparison with the planets of the inner solar system. Kepler-69c orbits near the inner edge of the habitable zone of a Sun-like star. Its 242 day orbit resembles that of Venus in ...

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