Thanks to space telescopes such as Hubble and Kepler, we know that there are numerous exoplanets that resemble Earth very much. An exoplanet is a planet that does not belong to our solar system, but orbits orbit around some distant star. Astronomers have ‘discovered’ several exoplanets where conditions are comparable to those on Earth. By ‘circumstances’ we mean, for example, gravity, the composition of the atmosphere, the size of the planet and the orbit time around its star. They are all planets where a certain form of life could occur. We do not know for sure, however, that the celestial bodies are simply far too far from the earth for that. But, even if there is no life, it would be possible to attract candidates if our globe gradually became overpopulated. Read more below about 10 exoplanets that look a lot like the earth.
When exoplanet Kepler-69c was discovered in April 2013 , astronomers thought the celestial body was a very good candidate to contain extraterrestrial life. Kepler-69c revolves around the Kepler-69 star, about a slippery 2.43 light year from Earth. The diameter of the exoplanet is 1.7 times larger than that of our globe. A year on Kepler-69c lasts 242 Earth days. No problem at all, until the scientists learned more about the temperature on the surface. It would rise to 275 degrees Celsius, of course much too warm to feel comfortable with. According to the latest observations, Kepler-69c appears to be more like Venus than our earth. And Venus, with its runaway greenhouse effect, is not exactly a planet where spontaneous life can arise …
Another exoplanet discovered by the Kepler space telescope: Kepler-62f, 1200 light-years away, in the Lier constellation. Kepler-62f is larger than our planet: its radius is 1.40 times that of the Earth. The exoplanet takes 267 Earth days to turn around her star Kepler-62. Incidentally, that star is a bit smaller than our sun. It would look a bit like a peach when you were standing on the rocky surface of Kepler-62f. Nice to watch, but to bridge 1200 light years for a trip to Kepler-62f? It is not yet available…
Kepler-62e is a neighbor planet of Kepler-62f and therefore belongs to the “solar system” of star Kepler-62. Number 62e is closer to its star than number 62f. On Kepler-62e, a year lasts 122 earthy days. The radius of this exoplanet is 1.6 times greater than that of our globe. Just like her neighbor planet, Kepler-62e is in the ‘habitable’ zone around her star. In theory there could be life that is comparable to life on earth. It is probably a warm planet, with lots of water and clouds in the sky. Seems nice, but at least still ‘out of reach’ for humanity.
This exoplanet is also known as Gliese 370b. You can find her in the constellation Sailing, about 36 light-years away from us. The exoplanet orbits her star Gliese 370 in 54 days. Just like with our moon, HD 85512 b is always facing its star with the same side. The exoplanet is 3.6 times larger than the earth, but gravity is only 1.4 times the earth’s gravity. The temperature rises to a very comfortable 25 ° C. A very good contender for the emergence of life. Who knows, someday in a distant future, we will live on HD 85512b….
Tau Ceti e
Of all earthy exoplanets, Tau Ceti e is relatively close: ‘only’ 11.9 light years. In any case, that is still much, much too far to travel with our current technology. A pity, because Tau Ceti e seems like a planet where people would feel at home. A bit too hot: the temperature can rise to 70 ° C, so air conditioning would be welcome. Furthermore, the exoplanet is 1.8 times larger than the earth and takes 168 days to rotate around its Tau Ceti sun. Tau Ceti is a star that looks like our sun and is also very stable.
ESO / L. Calçada
In the constellation Scorpio there is a strange group of stars: Gliese 667. That is a group of 3 stars that revolve around the same center of gravity. One star thereof, Gliese 667C, has a planetary system with at least two planets. Exoplanet Gliese 667Cb revolves around the star Gliese 667C and would be a habitable planet. Although there are three stars nearby, Gliese 667Cb receives only 60% of the sunlight that we are used to on earth. A year on this planet is very short: only 39 days. Birthdays follow one another quickly when you live on this planet. But before you can do that, you first have to cover 22.4 light years …
ESO / L. Calçada
Gliese 667Cc is an exoplanet that belongs to the same planetary system as Gliese 667Cf. It is most likely a very rocky planet, 85% similar to the earth. Gliese 667Cc has a larger diameter than the earth: 22800 kilometers compared to 12742 kilometers. The planet has roughly the appearance of Mars. It is quite cold there: the surface temperature does not exceed about -19 degrees Celsius.
Debivort / wiki media commons
At about 20.5 light-years away from the earth, in the constellation Libra, you find the ‘red dwarf’ Gliese 581. A red dwarf is a star with a relatively small mass and a lower temperature than our sun. There are 5 exoplanets orbiting around the red dwarf Gliese 581. Of these, Gliese 581d is located in the habitable zone. However, the planet has no real atmosphere and it is probably a lot colder there than on earth. A year does not last long: estimates range from 67 days to 84 days. On Gliese 581d you will certainly need a new calendar soon.
This is the lesser known brother of Gliese 581d and therefore also revolves around red dwarf Gliese 581. It is a rocky exoplanet, which is also in the habitable zone. There could be water in the atmosphere. The temperature is not high: from -37 to -12 degrees Celsius. It would be an exoplanet where life can occur in one form or another. One problem, though: it is possible that Gliese 581g does not exist at all. There are no images for Gliese 581g. Its existence is purely theoretically deduced from the influence of its gravity on the red dwarf Gliese 581.
Kepler-22b is an exoplanet where people would feel at home. Not close unfortunately: the exoplanet is located around 600 light-years away from our planet. But the conditions are excellent: a temperature between -11 and 22 degrees Celsius and an abundance of water. The diameter of Kepler-22b is 2.4 times the earth’s diameter. The exoplanet revolves around its star Kepler-22 in 289.9 days. It is a perfect candidate for the presence of extraterrestrial life. To have a look there, we still have to invent a spacecraft that can bridge 600 light-years fast enough.