UH Astronomers Identify 20 Planets with the Highest Likelihood of Harboring Life

Aug 8, 2016

Credit Chester Harman / NASA

A team of astronomers known as the Kepler Habitable Zone Working Group has identified a handful of planets that are most likely to be similar to our home.  

The team sifted through more than 4,000 exoplanets recorded from NASA’s Kepler mission… and found only 20 planets met the criteria for life as we know it.

Researchers used the planets’ radius and distance from their star to estimate what its surface and composition would be like.  A world too close to its sun would not be able to sustain water needed for life… nor would water be able to exist on a planet made of gas.  Nader Haghighipour is an astronomer with UH’s Institute for Astronomy. 

In the future, Haghighipour and his team will be taking a closer look at the twenty planets with telescopes on Mauna Kea.

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