Kepler 160 is a planet situated three thousand light-years away from Earth. It is a star very similar to the sun, and it was thought to have three planets in its system. Scientists have stumbled upon a discovery that would make the ordinary Kepler 160 an absolutely special star. It is thought that the planet KOI-456.04, as it is known, appears similar to Earth in both size and in orbit. This has raised the hope that we have stumbled upon the best candidate so far for a habitable exoplanet similar to our own world. These findings bolster the case for devoting more and more time to searching for planets orbiting stars such as Kepler-160 and our own su, where there is a much higher chance that an exoplanet can get the kind of lighting needed to accommodate living beings.
Many exoplanets have already been discovered, but they have usually been discovered around red dwarf stars. That has a relatively simple explanation, as red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the Universe. Currently, our main method for finding exoplanets is to look for stellar transits, which are periodic dips in a star’s brightness, occurring due to an orbiting object passing in front of the star. This is a lot easier to do for dimmer stars, such as red dwarfs because they are smaller than our sun and emit much more of their energy as infrared radiation. The most important discovery of this type is Proxima Centauri, our closest neighboring star, a red dwarf with a possibly habitable planet called Proxima B. The accidental discovery of Proxima B’s existence was confirmed in a study made public this week.
Data about Kepler 160 was published on Thursday. It indicates that KOI 456.04 is twice as small as Earth and is orbiting the star at the same distance from Earth.