Astronomers have found a #Venus-like planet, called Kepler-1649b, located about 219 #Light Years from Earth. According to scientists, this exoplanet is slightly bigger than Earth, and orbits a dim, low-temperature star called Kepler-1649. The diameter of Kepler-1649 is one-fifth the diameter of our Sun, and Kepler-1649b takes about nine days to complete one circle around its host star. The discovery of the Venus lookalike was made using the #Kepler Space Telescope built and operated by NASA.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun

Venus is the six largest planet in our solar system. It is second planet from the Sun and the brightest celestial body seen in the sky from Earth (except the Sun and the Moon).

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The orbit of Venus around Sun is the most nearly circular orbit compared to any other planet in our solar system. Venus is slightly smaller than Earth in size, and has a mass about 80% of Earth's mass. The chemical composition and densities of both planets are also similar, and because of these similarities, earlier astronomers used to believe that Venus might be harboring life on its surface. However, more detailed studies of the planet later revealed that this planet is actually quite different from Earth in terms of conditions that a planet needs to fulfill to sustain life on it.

The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2, which travelled to Venus in 1962. During later years, several other spacecraft—including Pioneer Venus, Venera 7, and Venera 9—visited this planet. ESA’s Venus Express arrived on Venus in April 2006 and is still carrying out experiments to study the atmosphere, plasma environment and the surface temperatures of Venus.

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About Kepler-1649b

The discovery of Kepler-1649 is expected to help scientists gain insight into nature of planets orbiting M-dwarf stars—are the most common type of stars in the universe. These stars are dimmer and redder than the Sun. In recent discoveries of exoplanets, scientists have found many instances of Earth-sized planets orbiting an M-dwarf star in its habitable zone. Scientists believe most of such exoplanets, with thick atmosphere and scorching temperatures, could actually be similar to Venus.

Isabel Angelo, a scientist at SETI Institute, suggests study of planets like Kepler 1649b is important to know more about the habitable zone boundaries of M dwarfs.

The detailed results of the current study have been published in AstroNOMICAL Journal.