Astronomers, using NASA’s Kepler space telescope, have discovered a Venus-like planet orbiting a dim star that is one-fifth the diameter of our Sun and is located 219 light years away from the earth.
The newly found planet is only slightly larger than Earth, and it tightly embraces its low-temperature star called Kepler-1649, encircling it every nine days.
The tight orbit causes the flux of sunlight reaching the planet to be 2.3 times as great as the solar flux on Earth. For comparison, the solar flux on Venus is 1.9 times the terrestrial value.
The discovery will provide insight into the nature of planets around M dwarf stars, by far the most common type in the universe.
While such stars are redder and dimmer than the Sun, recent exoplanet discoveries have revealed instances in which Earth-sized worlds circle an M dwarf in orbits that would place them in their star’s habitable zone.
However, such worlds may not inevitably resemble Earth, with its salubrious climate. They could just as well be analogues of Venus, with thick atmospheres and scalding temperatures.