The Discovery of Habitable Exoplanets

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Several years ago, the notion of a planet that orbit a distant star was not yet within the science fiction realm. However, since the first exoplanet was discovered in the year 1988, hundreds of them have been found. In 2014, NASA astronomers announced the discovery of seven hundred and fifteen formerly unknown planets in data gathered by the Kepler Space Telescope and this made the total number of the known number of exoplanet come to one thousand seven hundred and seventy-one (Stromberg). Out of this number, there are various kinds of exoplanets; some are filled with water, some are about the size of the earth, while others orbit two stars (Tasker).

            The major techniques that are used to detect exoplanets include transit, direct imaging, gravitational microlensing, and astrometry. Among these techniques, the one that has been used to detect the likely habitable exoplanets is the transit method (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory). In that regard, for distant stars, it is impossible for the naked eye to detect a darkening in the amount of light that can be seen; hence, the scientists depend on telescopes, especially the Kepler Space Telescope to gather data (Seager).

            Perhaps the most habitable exoplanet is Kepler 186-f. The data collected using the Kepler Space Telescope indicated this exoplanet it is remarkable since it was the initial one discovered, which was almost similar in size with the planet Earth and it is within the Goldilocks in which there is water (Stirone). Apparently, Kepler 186-f is approximately ten percent larger than Earth, and the f-marker shows that it is the fifth planet within the solar system. Moreover, it receives approximately thirty-percent of the sunlight, which Earth receives and it is possibly much colder.  

Works Cited

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "5 Ways to Find a Planet." NASA. Accessed 15 May 2018.

Stirone, Shannon. “Your Guide to the Most Habitable Exoplanets.”, 7 Jul. 2017. Accessed 15 May 2018.

Seager, Sara. "Warm welcome: finding habitable planets." NASA. Accessed 15 May 2018.

Stromberg, Joseph. "How Do Astronomers Actually Find Exoplanets?", 19 Mar. 2014. Accessed 15 May 2018.

Tasker, Elizabeth. “Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets.” Scientific American, 16 Aug. 2017. Accessed 15 May 2018.

August 04, 2023

Life Science



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