Astronomers working with data from the Kepler Space Telescope have hit another milestone in the search for exoplanets as they've reported the very first confirmed Earth-sized planet discovered in the habitable zone of its star, making it a potential haven for both liquid water and alien life.
This newly-discovered exoplanet, named Kepler-186f, is just 10 per cent larger than Earth, meaning it's most likely a rocky world but more importantly, the planet orbits its star every 130 days or so. This puts Kepler-186f near the outer edge of the star's habitable zone — the ring-shaped region around a star where there's just enough heat from the star that a planet there could have liquid water on its surface.
This video animation shows the planet orbiting the star along with its sibling-worlds. The green band that circles the star represents the habitable zone.
"We're always trying to look for Earth analogs, and that is an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone around a star very much theRead More »from Astronomers discover first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone