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Kepler-186 f: An Earth-size planet in the Habitable Zone

22 Apr 2014, 10:03 UTC
Kepler-186 f:  An Earth-size planet in the Habitable Zone
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“Are we alone in the Universe”? This is one of the greatest question mankind has been asking for a millennia. Now, we are a step closer to answer that question. NASA’s Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, has discovered an Earth-size planet in the “Habitable Zone” of a dim, cool star called “Kepler-186” nearly 500 light-years from us. An artist’s imagination of the Earth-size planet, Kepler-186f, and four other planets in this system. The star (Kepler-186) is a cool, low mass star with roughly half the size of our Sun. This system is about 500 light-years from us. Kepler-186f is the smallest Earth-size extrasolar planet found to be in the Habitable Zone to date. Credit: NASA/Ames.The planet, named “Kepler-186f” (because it is the fifth planet in this system starting with the first discovered planet with letter “b”), is only 11% larger than the Earth. To get a sense of how close to Earth-size this planet is, assume you are 6 feet tall. And now imagine a friend of your’s who is 6.6 feet tall ( a typical basketball player height). Not too much of a difference, right?Kepler-186f orbits its star every 130 days. That means, a “year” on this planet ...

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