|Extrasolar planet||List of extrasolar planets|
|Right ascension||(α)||19h 16m 52.2s|
|Declination||(δ)||+47° 53′ 4.0″|
|Apparent magnitude||(mV)||11.5 (B-band) |
|Radius||(r)||0.979 ± 0.02 R☉|
|Temperature||(T)||5518 ± 44 K|
|Semimajor axis||(a)||0.849 ± 0.018 AU
|Orbital period||(P)||289.862 ± 0.02 d|
|Radius||(r)||2.35  R⊕|
|Stellar flux||(F⊙)||1.09 ⊕|
|Discovery date||12 May 2009 (first observed)[not in citation given]
5 December 2011 (announced) 
|Discoverer(s)||Kepler Science Team|
|Discovery site||Kepler telescope|
Kepler-22b is an extrasolar planet orbiting G-type star Kepler-22. It is located about 600 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus. It was discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope in 2011 and was the first known transiting planet to orbit within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star.
Discovery and observation
The planet's first transit in front of its host star was observed on Kepler's third day of scientific operations, in May 2009. The third transit was detected in late 2010. Additional confirmation data was provided by the Spitzer Space Telescope and ground-based observations. On 5 December 2011, the confirmation of the existence of Kepler-22b was announced.
Past transit dates
|Transits of Kepler-22b|
|15 May 2009||First observed transit by Kepler space telescope|
|1 March 2010||Observed by Spitzer|
|15 Dec 2010||3rd transit observed by Kepler|
|1 October 2011||7.4 hour transit observed by Spitzer space telescope, confirming the planet|
The only parameters of the planet's orbit that are currently available are its period, which is about 290 days, and its inclination, which is approximately 90°, so that it transits the disk of its star as seen from Earth.
No information is available about the shape of the planet's orbit. Many extrasolar planets are known to move in highly elliptical orbits. It is only known that its average orbital distance is within its host star's habitable zone. If Kepler-22b has a highly elongated orbit it may well only spend a small fraction of its time within this habitable zone, which would cause extreme temperature differences on the planet and might make it inhospitable.
In order to obtain information about the shape of the planet's orbit, other methods of planetary detection, such as the radial velocity method, need to be used. While such methods have been performed on the planet after its discovery, they have not yet detected what the orbital eccentricity of the planet actually is, and have as of March 2012 only set an upper limit on the mass of the planet.
Kepler-22b's radius is roughly 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Its mass and surface composition remain unknown, with only some very rough estimates established: it has less than 124 Earth masses at the 3-sigma confidence limit, and less than 36 Earth masses at 1-sigma confidence. The Habitable Exoplanets Catalog gives a mass estimate of 6.36 Earth masses (and a radius of just 2.10 Earth radii) for the planet as of October 2012, after initially estimating it at ~10–35 Earth masses.
Kepler-22b might be an "ocean-like" world. It might also be comparable to the water-rich planet GJ 1214 b although Kepler-22b, unlike GJ 1214 b, is in the habitable zone. An Earth-like composition is ruled out to at least 1-sigma uncertainty by radial velocity measurements of the system. It is thus likely to have a more volatile-rich composition with a liquid or gaseous outer shell;[not in citation given] this would make it similar to Kepler-11f, the smallest known gas planet.
"If it is mostly ocean with a small rocky core," Natalie Batalha, one of the scientists on the project, speculated, "it's not beyond the realm of possibility that life could exist in such an ocean." This possibility of life has spurred SETI to perform research on top candidates for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Climate and habitability
The average distance from Kepler-22b to its host star Kepler-22 is about 15% less than the distance from Earth to the Sun but the luminosity (light output) of Kepler-22 is about 25% less than that of the Sun. This combination of a shorter average distance from the star and a lower stellar luminosity are consistent with a moderate surface temperature at that distance if it is assumed that the surface is not subject to extreme greenhouse heating.
If the planet is found to move in a highly elliptical orbit, its surface temperature will vary from a higher temperature when close to Kepler-22 to lower when farther away. If the orbit is indeed highly elliptical, then the temperature variance range will be extreme.
Scientists can estimate the possible surface conditions as follows:
- In the absence of an atmosphere, the equilibrium temperature would be approximately -11°C.
- If the atmosphere provides a greenhouse effect similar in magnitude to the one on Earth, the planet would have an average surface temperature of 22 °C (72°F).
- If the atmosphere has a greenhouse effect similar in magnitude to the one on Venus, the planet would have an average surface temperature of 460 °C (860°F).
|Temperature comparisons||Venus||Kepler 22b||Earth||Mars|
|Refs.    |
Recent estimates suggest the planet has over 95% probability of being located in the empirical habitable zone defined by the recent Venus and early Mars limits (based on estimates of when these planets may have supported habitable conditions), but less than a 5% chance of being located in the conservative habitable zone estimated from a 1D cloud-free radiative-convective model.
Limits on satellites
The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK) project has studied the Kepler photometry of this planet for evidence of transit timing and duration variations that may be caused by an orbiting satellite. Such variations were not found, ruling out the existence of satellites of Kepler-22b above 0.54 Earth masses at 95% confidence.
- Earth analog
- Gliese 163 c
- Gliese 581 d
- Gliese 581 g
- Gliese 667 Cc
- Habitable zone
- HD 85512 b
- PH2 b
- Planetary habitability
- "SIMBAD data for host star". SIMBAD. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Notes for Planet Kepler-22 b". Extrasolar Planet Database. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Klotz, Irene (5 December 2011) Alien Planet Could Host Life, Discovery.com
- "Planet: Kepler-22 b". The Extrasolar Planet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- PHL's Exoplanets Catalog - Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo
- "NASA Telescope Confirms Alien Planet in Habitable Zone". Space.com. 12 May 2011
- Borucki, William J.; Koch, David G.; Batalha, Natalie; Bryson, Stephen T.; Rowe, Jason; Fressin, Francois; Torres, Guillermo; Caldwell, Douglas A.; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jørgen; Cochran, William D.; Devore, Edna; Gautier, Thomas N.; Geary, John C.; Gilliland, Ronald; Gould, Alan; Howell, Steve B.; Jenkins, Jon M.; Latham, David W.; Lissauer, Jack J.; Marcy, Geoffrey W.; Sasselov, Dimitar; Boss, Alan; Charbonneau, David; Ciardi, David; Kaltenegger, Lisa; Doyle, Laurance; Dupree, Andrea K.; Ford, Eric B.; Fortney, Jonathan; Holman, Matthew J. (2012). "Kepler-22b: A 2.4 Earth-radius Planet in the Habitable Zone of a Sun-like Star". The Astrophysical Journal 745 (2): 120. arXiv:1112.1640. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/120. The article gives Julian dates, which are converted at imcce.fr (all dates in Univ. Time)
- "NASA – NASA's Kepler Confirms Its First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star". NASA Press Release. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- "Kepler 22-b: Earth-like planet confirmed". BBC Online. 5 December 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Kepler-22b: Facts About Exoplanet in Habitable Zone
- Dr. Tony Phillips (5 December 2011). "Kepler Confirms First Planet in Habitable Zone of Sun-like Star". NASA science news. Retrieved 31 January 2012. "The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season."
- "HEC: Data of Potential Habitable Worlds – Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo". Phl.upr.edu. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Scharf, Caleb A. (8 December 2011). "You Can't Always Tell An Exoplanet By Its Size". Scientific American. Retrieved 20 September 2012.: "If it [Kepler-22b] had a similar composition to the Earth, then we’re looking at a world in excess of about 40 Earth masses".
- Borenstein, Seth (5 December 2011). "Planet in sweet spot of Goldilocks zone for life". Associated Press. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
- Ian O'Neill (5 December 2011). "SETI to Hunt for Aliens on Kepler's Worlds". Discovery News.
- Vogt, Steven S.; Butler, R. Paul; Rivera, Eugenio J.; Haghighipour, Nader; Henry, Gregory W.; Williamson, Michael H. (29 September 2010). "The Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey: A 3.1 M_Earth Planet in the Habitable Zone of the Nearby M3V Star Gliese 581". arXiv:1009.5733 [astro-ph.EP].
- Stephens, Tim (29 September 2010). "Newly discovered planet may be first truly habitable exoplanet". University News & Events. University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Mallama, A.; Wang, D.; Howard, R. A. (2006). "Venus phase function and forward scattering from H2SO4". Icarus 182 (1): 10–22. Bibcode:2006Icar..182...10M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2005.12.014.
- Mallama, A. (2007). "The magnitude and albedo of Mars". Icarus 192 (2): 404–416. Bibcode:2007Icar..192..404M. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2007.07.011.
- Kipping, D. M.; Forgan, D.; Hartman, J.; Nesvorný, D.; Bakos, G. Á.; Schmitt, A.; Buchhave, L. (2013). "The Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (Hek). Iii. The First Search for an Exomoon Around a Habitable-Zone Planet". The Astrophysical Journal 777 (2): 134. arXiv:1306.1530v1. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/777/2/134.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kepler-22b.|
- "NASA's Kepler Confirms Its First Planet In Habitable Zone" (NASA)
- "Kepler discoveries: Kepler-22b: 'a yearly orbit of 289 days'" (NASA)
- "View of Kepler 22-b Sky Location" (Worldwide Telescope)
- Kepler-22b – First Discovered Planet In Habitable Zone on YouTube
- Kepler 22b – a planet in a star's habitable zone on YouTube
- Kepler mission newsfeed