Kepler-186f, seen here in an artist’s rendering and discovered in 2014 by a team of astronomers including SF State’s Stephen Kane, is one of more than 200 “exoplanets” that researchers say lie within the “habitable zone” of their stars and could potentially have life. Credit: Danielle Futselaar
Looking for another Earth? An international team of researchers has pinpointed which of the more than 4,000 exoplanets discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission are most likely to be similar to our rocky home.
The research, detailed in an article to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, outlines 216 Kepler planets located within the “habitable zone” — the area around a star in which a planet’s surface could hold liquid water. Of those, they list 20 that are the best candidates to be habitable rocky planets like Earth.
“This is the complete catalog of all of the Kepler discoveries that are in the habitable zone of their host stars,” said Stephen Kane, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at San Francisco State University and lead author of the study. “That means we can focus in on the planets in this paper and perform follow-up studies to learn more about them, including if they ...