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Last April astronomers found the most Earth-like planet so far orbiting a distant sun in our galaxy.
The planet – named Kepler-186f – is 500 light years away and orbits a red dwarf star in the constellation Cygnus in our corner of the Milky Way.
Kepler-186f is orbiting at the outer edge of the habitable zone around its star, which could mean that any liquid surface water would be in danger of freezing.
However because it slightly larger than Earth scientists are hoping the atmosphere would be thick enough to provide a blanket of insulation.
So far more than 3,800 possible planets have been detected by Kepler but this is the first that is so much like Earth.
However it would be impossible to visit the planet to find out if it contained life. Not only is it 2,939 trillion miles away, the light we are seeing is 500 years old.
Kepler-452b is smallest planet to date discovered orbiting in the habitable zone of a G2-type star, like our own
The planet is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth and is 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus
It has the a similar size orbit to Earth, receives the same amount of sun light and has the same length of year
Scientists are not yet sure whether it hosts life, but say if plants were transferred there, they are likely to survive
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Astronomers have found a planet they say is 'the closest twin to Earth' ever seen.
Named Kepler-452b, it is the smallest planet discovered orbiting in the habitable zone of a star, and has been described as an 'older, bigger cousin'.
What makes this planet remarkable is that it orbits its star at about the same distance that Earth orbits the sun. What's more, its home star looks to be similar to our sun.
This Earth-like world has a 'substantial opportunity' to host life, Nasa says, adding that if plants were transferred there, they would likely survive.
This artist's concept depicts one possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our sun. The habitable zone is a region around a star where temperatures are right for water - an essential ingredient for life as we know it - to pool on the surface
KEPLER-452B: KEY FACTS
Kepler-452b is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth. It is located about 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus.
Although it is larger, it is 385-day orbit is only 5 per cent longer.
The planet is 5 per cent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the sun.
It has the same temperature, and is 20 per cent brighter and has a diameter 10 per cent larger.
Its sun, Kepler-452, is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun.
One unanswered question is whether the planet is rocky. Scientists say there's a better than even chance it is.
The planet is about 60 per cent bigger than Earth, and is located about 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus.
Its discovery brings the total number of confirmed planets to 1,030.
Nasa has also found 12 new small habitable zone candidate planets, marking another milestone in the journey to finding another 'Earth.'
It is 'the closest twin to Earth, or the Earth 2.0 that we've found so far in the dataset', said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of Nasa's Science Mission Directorate.
Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, but its 385-day orbit is only 5 per cent longer.
It resides in something known as the habitable zone - or Goldilocks zone - which is an area around a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.
It is also 5 per cent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the sun.
'This is so fascinating because Kepler 452b receives the same kind of spectrum and intensity of light as we do on Earth,' said Dr Daniel
Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University.
'This means plants from our planet could grow there if it were rocky and had an atmosphere.
'You could even get a healthy tan like here on holiday. Getting to our closest twin planet might take a while though, since it's 1,400 light years away.'
Kepler-452 is 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than our sun, has the same temperature, and is 20 per cent brighter and has a diameter 10 per cent larger.
I don't get excited about other planets like earth out there. It's not like any of us will ever get to go to one.
originally posted by: glend
The Cygnus-Giza correlation came to mind when I read about an earth like planet orbiting Cygnus. A spacecraft that can accelerate at a constant 1G would ony take 13 years to travel between Earth and Cygnus.