Earthlike planet found in the habitable zone

Astronomers have found a planet smack in the middle of the habitable zone of its sunlike star, where temperatures are good for life. If this planet has a surface, it would have a very nice temperature of about 20°C (70° F).

Unfortunately, the true nature of the planet, named Kepler-22b, remains unknown. It is 2.4 times the size of Earth, but its mass, and hence its composition, has not yet been determined.

The Kepler telescope has been staring at more than 150,000 stars between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra for the past 1000 days. The Kepler team has now found more than 2300 candidate exoplanets, about 1000 more than it reported in February. Ten of those span no more than about twice Earth’s width. Learn more here, here, here or here.

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