Scientists are close to announcing the first Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around its parent star.
The host star was not named, but was identified as an M1 dwarf, which is a small star that is dimmer than the sun. These types of stars, also known as “red dwarfs” comprise about 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
So far, the most Earth-like planet detected by the now-defunct Kepler telescope is Kepler-62 f, which is about 1.4 times the size of Earth. Kepler-62 f receives about half as much energy from its star as Earth gets from the sun, and has an orbital period of 267 days (compared to Earth’s 365 days).
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It is thought to orbit in its star’s so-called “habitable zone” where temperatures are suitable for liquid surface water.
Water is believed to be necessary for life.
The Kepler telescope was launched in 2009 specifically to look for Earth-like planets beyond the solar system.
In an email to Discovery News, Barclay declined to comment on his research until it is closer to being published in a scientific journal ( via news.discovery.com ).