Why Hello There, Kepler 452b!

I was very excited to hear NASA’s press conference this morning that announced the discovery of the most-similar-to-earth planet yet!  Kepler 452b (I wonder when we’ll get a proper name and what it will be?) orbits a G-Type star like ours and orbits at a very similar distance to earth.

There you can see the previous earth-like planets. Notice that they’re closer to the bottom of the graph, indicating that they are orbiting stars that are cooler than our own.

Notice the position of Kepler 452 and how close it is to Earth on this graph!

Amazing!

What we know about Kepler 452b so far:

  • Kepler 452b has about 5 times the mass of Earth
  • It has about twice earth-normal gravity
  • It is about 1400 light years away from us
  • We don’t know if there are other planets in that solar system yet (we haven’t observed any, though there could be other planets that haven’t orbited between us and their sun yet, or they could be orbiting off-axis)
  • Kepler 452b orbits its sun in 385 days, quite similar to earth’s 365 day year
  • It receives an amount of energy on its surface that is similar to what earth gets
  • Kepler 452b will be in the optamistic habitable zone for quite a long time to come, about another 3.5 billion years.  Check it:

We know very little about its atmosphere so far, but the models we have suggest that it does have an atmosphere, though we don’t know its composition yet.

It will be exciting to see what else we can learn about Kepler 452b.

Here’s the news briefing materials from today’s announcement.

Learn more about Kapler’s mission here.

Thanks to NASA for sharing the live feed of the conference today.

I think I’ll start paying attention to when they’re making other announcements like this; what an exciting time for space discoveries!

Thanks for checking in.

Heidi out.

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