Planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of star that is similar to our Sun. This extremely exciting announcement was made by NASA today; while this doesn’t mean that the planet is inhabited, it does mean that it has many of the characteristics that our own Earth-Sun system have, and the odds of it hosting life seem significant.
Using three state of the art ground-based telescopes, a team of astronomers has identified three super-Earth exoplanets that are seven to eight times as massive as our own planet and orbit their parent star closer than Mercury orbits the sun. What’s hot about the findings – apart from the planet’s likely scorching surface – is that these were made using a novel automated approach, in which one telescope called the Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope at Lick Observatory in California was programmed to scour the night’s sky and look for signs of nearby alien planets. These three planets are just the beginning of a new process that hopefully will return hundreds of planets in our neighborhood, all without the need for human supervision.
Despite all the magnificent advancements in the field, we are still in the infancy of our research on extraterrestrial planets, so it shouldn’t really surprise anybody if a new type of planet is found. Mysterious dense bodies outside the Solar System which have puzzled astronomers for quite a while may in fact be remnants of Neptune-like planets which went too
Of the hundreds of exoplanets discovered thus far, many of them are classed as super-Earths, planets with a mass up to ten times that of our planet. Due to their inherent different structure however, their cores would be far from being similar to that of the Earth, leading many scientist to claim that they might not have a magnetic field.
One of the most outstanding dreams astronomers and other scientists hope to accomplish is to someday encounter proof that extraterestrial life exists. Intelligent life might be extremely far off, however microbiological life should without a doubt be present elsewhere other than our planet or solar system. For life to blossom, however, the right conditions have to be met, and one