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If this alien planet exists, it might be Earth-like. Or it might not.

8 Jun 2020, 13:00 UTC
If this alien planet exists, it might be Earth-like. Or it might not.
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Astronomers have found evidence for a planet orbiting a star that, if you squint a bit and don't clean your mirror too well, looks something like a reflection of the Earth and Sun.

I know, faint praise. But this is a pretty interesting planet. It's bigger than Earth, but orbits a star very much like the Sun at about the same distance Earth orbits the Sun, meaning it gets about the same amount of light Earth does. But we can't say too much about it just yet because we're missing a key piece of the puzzle — its mass.

If, that is, the planet exists at all.

OK, so what's what here? The star is called Kepler-160, and it's located about 3,100 light years from Earth. The star is a near-twin of the Sun: It has a little less mass and is cooler, but it's also a little bit bigger than the Sun, so the amount of energy it gives off is almost exactly the same as the Sun (it's only 1% more luminous, so very very close). It's also very old, about 9 billion years, so twice the age of the Sun.

Kepler-160 is one of 150,000 stars examined ...

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