Artist's impression of the Earth sized planet Kepler 186f orbiting its red dwarf star.
Kepler 186f Facts
- Kepler 186f is the first discovery of an Earth sized planet known to orbit in the habitable zone around its host star.
- The habitable zone is an area around a star where temperatures would allow for the presence of liquid water on a planet's surface.
- Due to its small size Kepler 186f is likely to be a rocky planet like Earth.
- Kepler 186f orbits a red dwarf star with around half the mass of the Sun, red dwarfs are by far the most common type of star in our galaxy.
- Red dwarfs emit far less energy than the sun, as a result Kepler 186f only receives about a third of the sunlight we receive on Earth.
- Kepler 186f may be tidally locked with one side of the planet always facing its star and the other in constant darkness.
- The force of gravity on Kepler 186f could be very similar to Earth's.
- There are four other planets in the Kepler 186 system, all of which orbit extremely closely to their host star.
- The Kepler 186 system is located around 500 light years from Earth.
Kepler 186f is around 10% larger in radius than planet Earth.
Kepler 186f OrbitKepler 186f orbits around its host star at a distance of around 37 million miles (60 million km), the same distance as Mercury orbits the sun, and takes 130 days to make one complete orbit.
Kepler 186f Mass and RadiusThe radius of Kepler 186f has been measured at 1.11 times that of Earth, its mass is unknown with estimates ranging from half to twice that of Earth depending on composition and density, a similar composition to Earth would give Kepler 186f a mass of around 1.4 times that of Earth.
Kepler 186f HabitabilityThe planet's temperature and composition of its atmosphere are unknown. Kepler 186f orbits on the outer edge of the habitable zone meaning it could possibly require a rather thick atmosphere with high levels of carbon dioxide to produce temperatures warm enough to allow liquid water to flow on its surface. Even so Kepler 186f may be a rather cold world with average temperatures just above 0C (32F) but may still be warm enough to allow life to evolve given the right conditions.
Kepler 186f StatisticsHost Star: Kepler 186
Host Star Type: Red Dwarf - M Type Main Sequence
Host Star Mass: 48% of Sun
Distance from Earth: 500 light years
Planets Detected in System: 5 confirmed
Discovery Date: April 2014
Detection Method: Transit
Exoplanet Type: Super Earth
Mass: Unknown, between 0.5 to 2 times that of Earth depending on composition
Diameter: Around 8,800 miles (14,300 km)
Distance from host star: 37 million miles (60 million km)
Orbital Period: 130 days
Gravity: Possibly similar to Earth
Possibility of Life: With the right atmospheric conditions and composition it is possible life could exist on Kepler 186f
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