Kepler-452b is a planet similar in size to Earth and orbits in the ‘habitable zone’ of a sol-like star. This is the first confirmed planet of its type and may be Earth-2. The habitable zone is the area around a G2-type star where liquid water could pool on the surface.
Kepler 452-b is 60% larger than Earth, but still falls into the range scientists have determined as a feasible for an Earth-type planet. The size of Kepler 452-b puts it into a category labeled as a super-Earth-size.
Mass and composition have not yet been determined, but because of it’s size scientists are claiming that is has a good chance of being rocky and volcanic.
The new planet has a 385 day orbit, which is only 5% longer than our solar year and is 5% farther from it’s parent star, Kepler-452, than Earth is from it’s sun.
“We can think of Kepler-452b as an older, bigger cousin to Earth, providing an opportunity to understand and reflect upon Earth’s evolving environment,” said Jon Jenkins, Kepler data analysis lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who led the team that discovered Kepler-452b. “It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth. That’s substantial opportunity for life to arise, should all the necessary ingredients and conditions for life exist on this planet.”
Kepler-452 is estimated to be 1.5 billion years older than our sun, 20% brighter and 10% larger, yet it is determined to be the same temperature as our sun. The Earth-like system is located 1,400 miles from the Cygnus constellation.
The new world is included in data collected by the Kepler space telescope which includes 500 new possible earth-like planets in ‘habitable zones’. Of those 500, Kepler-452b is the first to be confirmed as a planet. Eight of these planets show strong possibilities of being Earth-like and twenty-three are considered close to Earth-like.
Several space telescopes, including the Kepler have looked at over 150,000 stars over the past five years. About 700 of these stars have been confirmed as having planets. Until this latest batch they had found 1877 planets and 4661 more possible planets.