With 2020 being a bummer, everyone seems to be wanting to relocate! Your aspirations of shifting residence to another planet may just be coming true! Scientists have now found a solar system that legit mirrors ours. Why does this surprise us? The guys who spend their days behind telescopes often find exoplanets that could be inhabitable. But well, this time it’s literally a twin of our solar system!
What is an exoplanet?
Simplifying the mysteries of the universe, the planets we know of in our solar system, orbit around the Sun. Thus an exoplanet is one that orbits around another star. (The sun is a star for those who’ve forgotten the astronomical highlights). These exoplanets aren’t tough to spot as they appear wobbly orbiting a bit off-centre. While scanning the skies, a dim in the brightness of the planet sometimes indicates that the planet is transiting a star, which can be another way to spot the exo. Kepler identified 2,600 of these exoplanets and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research is now on its mission to add to this score. On this venture to conquer the dynamics of the universe, serendipity played its role and the institute discovered KOI-456.04! A planet that resembles the Earth and well, the solar system!
The specifics of the discovery
KOI-456.04 - The planet orbits the sun-like star Kepler-160. 3000 light years away from the Earth, this sun-like star had revealed 2 large exoplanets. The Max Planck Institute then set out with grit to find the Earth’s mirror image. You may not be a fan of the physics of the matter, but we’ll break it down for you. The team at Max Planck went on to develop a model of stellar brightness variation. This algorithm identified a probable exoplanet much smaller than the other known planets orbiting Kepler-160. That’s KOI-456.04.
What does this mean for us?
A startling find that could have implications far-reaching than those you have ever imagined! Kepler-160 is a yellow dwarf star, which resembles the Sun in many aspects. The uniqueness is that the other exoplanets orbit a red dwarf type star. This new planet is 1.9 times the size of the Earth! Studies also suggest it could have liquid on the surface and well, if things work out well, who knows? We could soon be moving to another solar system. Better start getting those passports ready folks!