Astronomers have just stumbled upon an exoplanet that could be habitable. Its star is a lot more similar to the sun, and the planet is highly similar to Earth, so this pair is better than all other planet-star pairs we have found so far.
The planet, which is considered to be a planet candidate until further confirmation, is situated at the right distance from its star in order to allow for the presence of liquid water on the surface of the planet. What this all means is that there are higher chances of the planet being able to host living beings.
This newfound world is around 1.9 times the size of Earth. Rene Heller, the lead author of the new study, has mentioned in a press release that the combination of this planet, which is twice as small as Earth, together with this solar-type of star, make this solar system extremely special and quite familiar. Heller’s team, which is composed out of researchers affiliated with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, described the planet and its associated star in the research that they have published in the academic journal, Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Currently, the planet candidate is called KOI-456.04. Should the existence of the planet be confirmed by the other telescopes out there, the exoplanet will join a group of 4,000 more planets situated outside the Solar System. Research has also identified that there are some candidate orbits in this solar system, known as Kepler-160. The two planets have already been known, but this study has recently identified two more planets.
To make the planet habitable, a stable star must be orbited at a distance that is able to maintain a suitable temperature for liquid water. Currently, we believe that the Milky Way galaxy could sustain up to 10 billion Earth-like planets, according to most estimates. So far, we have only uncovered about 4,000.