Posted at 05:11 PM ET, 12/06/2011

New planet similar to Earth discovered: How far is 600 light years away?

Kepler-22b, the newly discovered planet that’s been proclaimed “eerily similar” to Earth, is sitting just outside our solar system, in the habitable zone of a sun-like star, some 600 light years away. The discovery has been called “thrilling,” and “a great gift ... like a Christmas planet.” But how close is the new Earth really?
Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star. (AP)

Since one light year is the equivalent nearly six trillion miles, it would take 22 million years to travel 600 light years on a space shuttle and visit Kepler 22-b with our current technology.

The following diagram from NASA compares our own solar system to the star system Kepler 22-b:

(NASA - Reuters)
But while we won’t be able to visit this Kepler-22b, scientists say another planet like it and closer to it could be discovered in this lifetime. The Kepler telescope has already detected hundreds of new planets.

By  |  05:11 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Tags:  Space, Kepler-22b, planets, habitable zone, light years

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