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Monday, June 8, 2020
Scientists discover new star and planet that are ‘mirror image’ of Earth and Sun
SCIENTISTS have detected a distant planet and star that look more similar to the Sun-Earth system than any other exoplanet-star pair yet observed.
The Max Planck Society describes the star and its planet as a “mirror image” of the Earth and the Sun. They’re around 3,000 light-years away from Earth; roughly 17,636,000,000,000,000 miles away.
So far, scientists around the world have managed to spot over 4,000 exoplanets – that is, planets that exist outside of the solar system – the Max Planck Society said.
Scientists are usually interested to find planets that are similar to Earth, because this gives rise to the possibility that life might exist there.
To start with, KOI-456.04 orbits a star that is similar to the Sun. For one thing, this star – called Kepler-160 – actually emits plenty of visible light, which is something that most exoplanets’ stars don’t do.
Scientists noted many similarities between the planet and star and the Earth and the Sun. (Image: vjanes / Getty)
Kepler-160 is also very close to the Sun’s size - its radius is just 10 percent larger – and its surface temperature just 300 degrees cooler; next to nothing in astrophysical terms.
This is significant because most stars of exoplanets tend to be small and dim and mostly emit infrared radiation – belonging to the ‘red dwarf’ classification of stars.
This is a problem as far as life is concerned. Many red dwarfs are thought to emit radiation that fries any planets that get too close.
But since red dwarfs are cool and dim compared to the Sun, planets need to be relatively close in order to receive the amount of warmth that scientists think could lead to life.
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