NASA AMES/JPL-CALTECH/T. PYLENASA scientists have discovered a planet more similar to Earth than any other yet documented. Kepler-452b, as it’s called, is 1.6 times larger than our planet and has a year that’s approximately 385 days long.

“Today, the Earth is a little less lonely, because there’s a new kid on the block,” Jon Jenkins, the Kepler project’s data analysis lead, told reporters at a news conference last week (July 23), according to The Christian Science Monitor.

The planet is 1,400 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Its sun, Kepler-452, is quite similar to our own, with the same temperature and a diameter 10 percent larger. According to Science, Kepler-452b is estimated to have five times the mass of Earth, with twice the gravity.

“It’s awe-inspiring to consider that this planet has spent 6 billion years in the habitable zone of its star; longer than Earth....

Although scientists are excited by the finding, “because of its size and distance, it is unlikely that we will find out more about Kepler 452b for a considerable time, if ever,” Science reported.

Correction (July 30): The original version of this article misstated the size and mass of Kepler 452b. The mistake has been corrected. The Scientist regrets the error.

Interested in reading more?

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!