Search for Earth’s twin

Nieuws | de redactie
6 december 2011 | The hunt for Earth’s twin continues. For the first time, NASA now confirmed the discovery of Kepler-22b, a planet orbiting the habitable zone of a sun-like star 600 light-years from here.

Humanity’s desire to move on and start life all over again isancient. This morning, Angela Merkel might have had this wish toowhen she heard the news Standard & Poor’s was threatening todowngrade the whole Eurozone.

Fortunately, technology opens up new possibilities and startingall over might not be limited to earth alone. NASA proved this nowthat it confirmed the discovery of the first planet inthe habitable zone of a sun-like star.

Astronomer’s new favorite object of attention is calledKepler-22b, a planet 600 light-years away from Earth and withroughly 2,4 times its radius. Kepler-22b orbits a G-type starsimilar to our sun taking 260 for one complete “year” cycle. Thenew Earth-twin candidate also offers a comfortable 22 degreesaverage temperature.

Finding Earth’s twin

Even though it is not clear yet whether the planet is rocky,gaseous or of liquid composition, Douglas Hudgins, NASA scientistfrom the telescope mission Kepler, said that “this is a majormilestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin. Kepler’s resultscontinue to demonstrate the importance of NASA’s science missions,which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our placein the universe”

“Kepler discovers planets and planet candidates by measuringdips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars to search forplanets that cross in front, or ’transit’,” the stars. Keplerrequires at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet,”NASA described the technique it uses to discover new planets.

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