Being big enough and at the right distance from a star are two very important characteristics for a planet: they can mean life, like on Earth. Scientists have not yet found living beings in space, but the Kepler mission of NASA has discovered two new planetary systems and, in particular, three super Earth planets – celestial extrasolar celestial bodies with a mass halfway between that of Earth and Uranus – that orbit in the so-called “habitable zone”, the area of distance from a star where the surface temperature of a planet could be suitable for maintaining liquid water.
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Of these three new planets, two are found in the Kepler-62 system and revolve around a smaller and less luminous star of the Sun, classified as a K2 dwarf, 1,200 light years from Earth, in the Lyra constellation. The other orbit in the Kepler-69 system, whose G-type star, like ours, is in the constellation of the Swan, 2700 light years away. Kepler-62f, rocky and only 40 percent larger than the Earth, is the celestial body that most resembles our planet, while Kepler-62e is about 60 percent larger and orbiting on the inside edge of the habitable zone.
Kepler-69c, on the other hand, is 70 percent larger and its 242-day orbit resembles that of Venus. Researchers still do not know if they can find any signs of life on these planets, but as John Grunsfeld, associate director of NASA S cience Mission Directorate in Washington, points out, “the discovery of these rocky planets in the habitable zone takes us a little further. close to finding a place like home.
These discoveries were made possible thanks to the Kepler space telescope, which constantly measures the brightness of over 150,000 stars and is NASA’s first mission to detect Earth-like planets. “The identification and confirmation of planets is a huge effort to collaborate with talents and resources, and requires the expertise of the entire scientific community to produce such important results,” explained William Borucki, researcher and lead author of the document on the system. Kepler-62 published on Sciences .
“Finding a planet in the habitable zone of a star like our Sun – added Thomas Barclay, speaker of research on the Kepler-69 system published on the Astrophysical Journal instead – is a milestone in research”.