NASA discovers 'most similar planet to Earth' ever found

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A team of scientists has discovered an Earth-size exoplanet in the habitable or "Goldilocks" zone of its star while reviewing old data from the Kepler Space Telescope, according to a press release from NASA.

The planet, Kepler-1649c, is located 300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus and "is most similar to Earth in size and estimated temperature" of all the exoplanets discovered by Kepler.

Kepler-1649c is 1.06 times the size of Earth and orbits a small red dwarf star once every 19.5 Earth days, from which it receives 75 percent of the amount of light Earth receives from the Sun.

Scientists made the discovery while analyzing old data from Kepler. They found that previous searches with a computer algorithm had misidentified Kepler-1649c as a false positive.

"Out of all the mislabeled planets we've recovered, this one's particularly exciting," said Andrew Vanderburg, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the paper published on April 15 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "If we hadn't looked over the algorithm's work by hand, we would have missed it."

"In terms of size and likely temperature, this is the most similar planet to Earth that has ever been found with Kepler," said co-author Jeff Coughlin at the SETI Institute. "It's incredible to me that we just found it now, seven years after data collection stopped on the original Kepler field."

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of Kepler-1649c and size comparison with Earth
2. Kepler-1649 orbits the red dwarf Kepler-1649 from which it receives 75 percent of the amount of light Earth receives from the Sun
3. Kepler-1649c's orbital period and location within its star's habitable zone
4. Depiction of the orbits of Kepler-1649c and Kepler-1649b along with a speculated third planet

VOICEOVER (in English):
"Among all the exoplanets discovered by the Kepler spacecraft thus far, Kepler-1649c is most similar to Earth in size and estimated surface temperature."

"The planet is just 1.06 times the size of Earth and it may share similar surface temperatures since it receives 75 percent of the amount of light Earth receives from the Sun, though it orbits a red dwarf star, which may be prone to frequent flare-ups."

"Kepler-1649c orbits the red dwarf so closely that a year on Kepler-1649c lasts only 19.5 Earth days. But it lies within the star's Goldilocks Zone, where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet."

"Kepler-1649c has a neighboring planet, Kepler-1649b. Kepler-1649c circles the red dwarf nine times for every four times the inner planet orbits. This nine-to-four ratio is rare, and may indicate the presence of another planet, which scientists have not observed because it may be too small or have an orbital tilt that makes it hard to find."

SOURCES: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, SETI Institute, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, NASA Exoplanet Archive
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/earth-size-habitable-zone-planet-found-hidden-in-early-nasa-kepler-data
https://www.seti.org/press-release/dedicated-team-scientists-discover-habitable-zone-earth-size-planet-kepler-data
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/ab84e5
https://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/docs/intro.html