Scientists from NASA continue to make discoveries with data from the Kepler satellite. Scientists still examining the data obtained by Kepler, who retired in 2018, detected a planet similar to the Earth 300 light years from Earth.
The spacecraft Kepler, which collects data from the stars in NASA’s orbit of the Sun, retired in 2018. Although Kepler has been in office for two years, the data obtained by the spacecraft continue to be studied by scientists.
The star data obtained by Kepler is actually examined by an algorithm. However, scientists have discovered that the algorithm made mistakes in some data reviews. For this reason, the results of the algorithm are checked by scientists and the data is reviewed. During the reexamination of data by scientists, a planet similar to the Earth was discovered 300 light years from Earth.
Earth-like planet around the dwarf star
The planet called Kepler-1649c, discovered by scientists, is only 1.06 times larger than Earth. The planet can receive up to 75 percent of the light that the Earth receives from the Sun, in which it is located in its orbit. However, unlike the Earth, the newly discovered planet orbits a red dwarf star. Dwarf stars cause star flares that prevent the emergence of life on the planets. In the system detected by Kepler, no such event has been observed yet.
The planet called Kepler-1649c is located very close to the little red dwarf star. Due to the planet’s proximity to the star, one year of Kepler-1649c is equal to 19.5 days of the Earth.
Not much is known about the Kepler-1649c yet. The first thing to know is the atmosphere, which will determine the level of temperature on the planet. However, the data obtained are that the planet has the potential to support life.
Next to Kepler-1649c in the star system, another rocky planet of similar size to this planet was discovered. But this rocky planet is half a distance from its star Kepler-1649c.
Incorrectly evaluated data is being checked
Scientists from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California have developed an algorithm called Robovetter to sort the big dataset that the Kepler spacecraft obtained. This algorithm searched for the brightness drops that the planets create when passing in front of the stars to find the planets.
Drops in the brightness of stars often occur in situations such as cosmic objects passing in front of the star. The algorithm detected the brightness drops that the planets would create as they pass in front of the star, leaving out cosmic objects. Robovetter considered these shine drops of cosmic objects passing in front of the star as “false positives”.
Scientists with a large number of complex signal data knew that the algorithm could make some errors, so the results should be checked twice. For this reason, the Kepler False Positive Working Group was established. This research team is reviewing Robovetter’s work. Researchers in the study group are reviewing all the data Robovetter considers false positive and disregarding data with little potential for being a planet.
Robovetter’s review of 2009 and 2013 data, which is only the first work of Kepler, enables the emergence of new planets. Kepler-1649c was discovered as a result of these rigorous analyzes.
It may also be a third planet
The study of the data obtained from the star of Kepler-1649c in terms of size and energies shows how similar the planet is to the Earth, but it gives a new look to the star system. When the outer planet in the system rotates four times in orbit, the inner planet rotates around the star nine times. This stable ratio match in the orbital rotations of the planets shows that the system itself is extremely stable and can survive for a long time.
These almost perfect orbital rotation rates are often caused by a phenomenon called planetary resonance. However, the nine-orbit rotation ratio between the two discovered planets is a relatively unique ratio. These rates are usually observed in half or one third.
Although unconfirmed, these unique rotation rates of planets in orbit may indicate the existence of a third planet that is located between the two planets and affects the resonance of the planet.
In their data, the researchers sought the existence of a potential third planet. However, this search was inconclusive. Although the existence of a third planet could not be determined, a Earth-like planet caught by Kepler was discovered. It is also very important to find evidence of the existence of a planet that could potentially provide life around a dwarf star.