Recently, scientists have found a distant planet and star that could resemble the Sun-Earth system.
There are many similarities between the planet, dubbed KOI-456.04, and Earth. Researchers believe that the conditions there might right for life. The observation was realized by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. Here is what you should know.
Could There Be Another Sun-Earth System?
The Max Planck Institute reveals that the star and its planet are “mirror-image” of the Earth and Sun. They’re approximately 3,000 light-years away from our planet; almost, 17,636,000,000,000,000 miles away.
Until now, researchers have succeeded in finding over 4,000 exoplanets – planets outside the Solar System – the Max Planck Institute stated. Usually, researchers are interested in discovering planets that are similar to Earth, because it offers the possibility that life might be there.
To begin with, KOI-456.04 orbits a star that resembles our host star. The star, named Kepler-160, releases a lot of visible light, which most-exoplanets’ stars don’t do. Kepler-160 is very close to the Sun’s size – its radius is only 10 % bigger – and its surface temperature only 300 degrees cooler, next to zero in astrophysical terms. Such a thing is significant because most stars of exoplanets are dim and small, and most of them send infrared radiation – belonging to the “red dwarf” classification of stars.
An Earth-like exoplanet that is a candidate for life must orbit a star of the right type at a particular length – close enough to receive warmth and light and some volcanic activity. Still, far enough, it doesn’t get torn apart by gravity. Astrophysicists define such a thing as the “habitable zone,” because it could show that conditions are perfect for liquid water to exist, which is essential for life. This is a reason why KOI-456.04 is so intriguing. It meets those requirements, and it’s rocky and somehow similar to Earth.
Another reason is that KOI-456.04 has an orbital period of 378 days, a little longer than our planet. So, the planet could get a similar amount of light as Earth – 91 %, according to astronomers. Further research is required to prove the planet’s authenticity.