Kepler-452b is the first near-Earth-sized planet to be discovered in the habitable zone of a star similar to sun. Discovered in 2015, the Kepler telescope had previously only detected 12 Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of smaller and cooler stars. Kepler-452b is the first one orbiting a star of similar size and temperature to the sun. With its discovery, researchers now have a better understanding of the potentially habitable planets orbiting stars similar to our own, and who knows what else might still be out there waiting to be discovered!
The habitable zone is an important factor to consider when looking for planets that may support life. This region is located around a star and has temperatures that are conducive for water – one of the key components necessary for life – to exist on the planet’s surface. While it is not known yet whether Kepler-452b is capable of hosting life, what we do know is that the planet is around 60% larger than Earth, and orbits its star once every 385 days, placing it in a class of planets referred to as ‘super-Earths’. Additionally, scientists believe that Kepler-452b is 6 billion years old, making it much older than Earth. With these factors in mind, scientists are hopeful that further research will help them determine if Kepler-452b could be inhabited.