Kepler-186f is seen in a NASA artist’s concept released April 17, 2014. The planet is the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone which is a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface. The discovery is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star, known as Kepler-186 and located about 500 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, is smaller and redder than the sun.
A newly discovered planet-like object, dubbed “Sedna” is seen in this artist’s concept released by NASA March 26, 2014. Astronomers have found a small icy body far beyond Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a discovery that calls into question exactly what was going on during the early days of the solar system.
Dwarf planet Ceres
Dwarf planet Ceres is seen in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Ceres, one of the most intriguing objects in the solar system, is gushing water vapor from its frigid surface into space, in a finding that raises questions about whether it might be hospitable to life.
Gliese 667 Cc
An artist’s impression shows a sunset seen from the super-Earth Gliese 667 Cc. Astronomers have estimated there are tens of billions of such rocky worlds orbiting faint red dwarf stars in the Milky Way alone.
A view of a Saturn-sized planet orbiting 79 Ceti.
An artist’s depiction of Kepler-62e. The super Earth-size planet is in the habitable zone of a star smaller and cooler than the sun, located about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra.
Kepler-22b, the most Earth-like planet ever discovered, is circling a star 600 light years away. It is the smallest and the best positioned to have liquid water on its surface – among the ingredients necessary for life on Earth.
The circumbinary planet Kepler-16b – the first planet known to definitively orbit two stars. The cold planet, with its gaseous surface, is not thought to be habitable. The largest of the two stars, a K dwarf, is about 69 percent the mass of our sun, and the smallest, a red dwarf, is about 20 percent the sun’s mass. These star pairs are called eclipsing binaries.