(ORDO NEWS) — Unexpectedly for all, astronomers discovered a distant planet and star that are strikingly similar to the Earth-Sun system. This is the most significant similarity of all systems discovered to date.
The similarities between the found planet, code-named KOI-456.04, and the Earth are so numerous that researchers hope that it may well be suitable for life. The observation was carried out by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen (Germany).
The Max Planck Society describes the star and its planet as a “mirror image” of the Earth and the Sun. The system is located about 3,000 light-years from Earth. KOI-456.04 in the orbit of the star Kepler-160, which emits a lot of light, which can not be said about the previously discovered exoplanet stars.
Kepler-160 belongs to the class of “yellow dwarfs”, and the size of the star is comparable to the size of the Sun – its radius is only 10 percent larger and its surface temperature is only 300 degrees lower – almost nothing in astrophysical terminology.
This is very important because most exoplanet stars tend to be small and dim and mainly emit infrared radiation inherent in red dwarf stars. The emission of red dwarfs is a real problem for life. It is believed that they emit radiation, which can destroy life on closely located planets.
In addition, the earth-like planet, which is a candidate for the search for life, must rotate at a very specific distance from its star – close enough to receive light and heat and some volcanic activity, but far enough so that it does not receive an excess of radiation and gravity. Astrophysicists call this the “habitable zone,” the conditions that allow liquid water to exist on the planet. Surprisingly, the planet KOI-456.04 meets all these necessary requirements.
Another similarity between KOI-456.04 and the Earth is its orbital period or duration of the year. Researchers believe that the period is 378 days – a little longer than on Earth. This means that there is a 93% chance that KOI-456.04 receives the same amount of light as the Earth.
Moreover, KOI-456.04 is half the size of the Earth. This is another key point, since almost all exoplanets, which are half the size of the Earth, as a rule, have the potential for the existence of terrestrial temperatures on the surface.
Moreover, according to researchers, KOI-456.91 is relatively large compared to many other planets that are considered potentially inhabited. Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute plan to continue to closely monitor the system in order to obtain more data.
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