Astronomers confirm ‘Earth twin’
"For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems - including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analogue in the habitable zone around its host star."
- Jill Tarter, the director of the Center for Seti Research at the Seti Institute
Astronomers have confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the 'habitable zone' around a star not unlike our own.
The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C.
Kepler 22-b lies 15% closer to its sun than the Earth is to our Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However, the planet's host star puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy temperature that would support the existence of liquid water.
The Kepler team had to wait for three passes of the planet before upping its status from "candidate" to "confirmed".