Contact: Barbara K. Kennedy
Caption: This diagram compares the planets of our inner solar system to Kepler-186, a five-planet star system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The five planets of Kepler-186 orbit an M dwarf, a star that is is half the size and mass of the sun. The Kepler-186 system is home to Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet orbiting a distant star in the habitable zone -- a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet's surface. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step toward finding a world similar to Earth.
Credit: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
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Related news release: First Earth-size planet is discovered in another star's habitable zone