A 'habitable' earth-like planet, which is orbiting around a sun-like star 600 light years away, has been discovered in our galaxy for the first time, researchers say.
A team of researchers from NASA's Kepler Mission has discovered what could be a large, rocky planet with a surface temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, comparable to a comfortable spring day on earth.
The discovery team, led by William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Centre, used photometric data from the NASA Kepler space telescope, which monitors the brightness of 155,000 stars.
Earth-size planets whose orbital planes are aligned such that they periodically pass in front of their stars result in tiny dimmings of their host star's light dimmings that can only be measured by a highly specialized space telescope like Kepler.
The host star lies about 600 light-years away from us toward the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus.
The star, a G5 star, has a mass and a radius only slightly smaller than that of our sun, a G2 star. As a result, the host star is about 25 per cent less luminous than the sun.
There is no proof as of yet that this planet is habitable. It just happens to be in the zone from it's sun that is considered potentially habitable. No one knows yet if this planet has any water or any sort of atmosphere.
To give you an example, both Mars and Venus are in the distance zone from our Sun that is considered to potentially habitable, but neither of those planets could support life as we know it.