Kepler 22b – The Next Habitable Planet

Hail all space enthusiasts! We found another hospitable planet!

Remember the time when anything extraterritorial was the subject of intriguing interest among us. Movies like wall-e sure inspire us to take care of our planet as we know no other place like earth! But what if I told you, there is! Kepler-22b is the first exoplanet that has a habitable zone in its star. So even though it is 600 light-years away, it is believed to be a good spot for life to begin.

Announced in 2011, Kepler-22b is 2.4 times the size of the earth and has a comfortable average temperature of 72 degrees.

NASA first announced Kepler-22b as a part of the 54 habitable planers in 2011. The Kepler Space Telescope keeps a close look for alien worlds by measuring dips in parent starlight. The findings of a potential livable planet stirred up the excitement all over the world. Despite the evident distance, it is assuring to know we are not the only planet with life in the universe!

The orbit of Kepler is very similar to earth and has a G star like our sun. However, it is a little smaller and colder than our sun. The area around which water can stay in a liquid state makes it the habitable zone. A research team member suggested that the planet may not host life on the surface, but the environment is closer to Neptune with enormous oceans.

Habitable Zone Searches-

In 2015, European Planetary science studied the variability in energy produced by Kepler22b’s star that would influence the hospitability.

The American Astronomical Society meeting showed stimulating exomoons in the system to understand the planet’s atmosphere. The research could not find any moon on the earth. Hospitability is undoubtedly a thing! The worlds that are not rocky and have liquid water on them makes it a habitable zone.

Future Observations-

Till late 2017 Kepler was still operational. Examining the different areas of the sky cannot point in one direction due to mechanical failures. It is believed that there are many other potentially habitable worlds besides Kepler22b.

Even though the distance of these worlds makes it a tricky thing to follow up, future work is possible only through using a ground-based telescope or developing future space observations.

The potential telescopes that could examine Kepler-22b include James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020, or the ground-based European Extremely Large Telescope, first light.

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