NASA finds two planets size of Earth orbiting a distant star
The two planets have been baptized by the discoverers: Kepler-20e and 20f.
They are the smallest planets found so far by human technology in the orbit of a star outside our solar system.
Astronomers from NASA announced Tuesday they have identified two planets orbiting a star about 1,000 light years from Earth and are the worlds smallest found so far outside the solar system , though they seem livable. "After almost three years The Kepler space observatory has confirmed the existence of planets orbiting stars, "said in a conference call Nick Gautier, Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA in Pasadena, California. The two planets, Kepler-20e baptized and 20f, are the most Small found so far in the orbit of a star outside our solar system, one of which has a diameter less than 3% of the Earth, while the other is 3 percent higher. Both orbit the star Kepler-20, a solar-type star slightly cooler than the Sun and is located almost a thousand light years from Earth, scientists said. Given that orbit very close to its star, researchers believe that due to high temperatures, the planets are not capable of supporting life. However, the discovery scientists closer to his goal of finding an Earth-like planet that is habitable. In a teleconference organized by the U.S. space agency NASA, scientists explained that Kepler-20e orbits its star every 6.1 days at a distance of 7.6 million kilometers, this is almost 20 times closer to its star than Earth that orbits the sun about 150 million kilometers.
The scientists are saying that it has exceeded a "threshold"
Kepler-20f completes its orbit every 19.6 days at a distance of 16.6 million kilometers from the star . With these features can expect temperatures of between 430 and 760 degrees Celsius, which is considered almost impossible the existence of liquid water on planets. "There are very few possibilities of life in any of these planets," said researcher Francois Fressin, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "but can not exclude the possibility that they have been living in the past, when you can that have been farther from its star. " To Fressin "We have crossed a threshold" to be "first detected planets smaller than Earth around other stars . " "We have proven that there are Earth-like planets around other stars, and more importantly, we have proved that humanity can detect," he said. "It's the beginning of an era." David Charbonneau, a professor of astronomy at Harvard University, explained that to discover the planets, astronomers working with the space telescope Kepler seek periodic decreases in brightness of stars that indicate the passage the planet. Then the scientists used ground-based observatories to confirm the existence of planets. Charbonneau said that, in fact, astronomers have found five planets but "the architecture of this solar system is totally amazing."
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