One of the biggest discussions regarding astronomy, is whether their is another Earth out there hosting life like our very own. Exoplanets are planets surrounding other stars in the universe, and just a few decades ago, scientist didn’t even know if there was any other planets outside of our solar system. But in the recent years, scientists have discovered 3400 exoplanets, with another 5400 waiting to be added to the list.
An exoplanet doesn’t mean that it is an Earth like planet. An exoplanet may have no chance of hosting life on it. It can be like a Jupiter or Saturn with no solid rocky crust to land and walk upon. But there is a chance that an exoplanet can be habitable to host life. Out of the 3400 current exoplanets, scientists have determined 15 that are habitable possibly. I say possibly only because scientists consider habitable not as a planet hosting life, but as a planet that could possibly have liquid water.
One of the most talked about habitable exoplanet is Kepler 186-f. It was found by the Kepler telescope a few years ago, thus giving its name. It is commonly talked about because it is in the Goldilocks zone, an area scientists determine around a star where an exoplanet can have liquid water. It orbits around a star a little smaller than our own and the planet itself is about 10% bigger than Earth. What’s cool about this exoplanet is that it most likely receives infrared light from its star, making anything on the planet adapted to receiving this different wavelength of light. Kepler 186-f is so close to its star, that it is tidally locked with it just like the Earth and Moon are tidally locked with one another. This means only one side of the planet gets sunlight and heat from the star, while the other side could possibly be very cold and dark.
Exoplanets are always interesting to learn about because it gets you thinking, whether other life can life on another planet. Whether life could live else where in the universe is always a mind boggle.