Scientists have a firm belief that there are millions of planets in our neighboring, Andromeda Galaxy. However, they have only identified one so far, named PA-99-N2, due to a microlensing event in 1999. Therefore, this confirmation makes it the very first extragalactic planet.

Finding planets in space is challenging because they don’t emit their own light. Our technology allows us to find lots of exoplanets in our galaxy. As technology gets better, astronomers might find exoplanets outside our galaxy. In 2010, they found a Jupiter-sized planet in the Andromeda Galaxy and called it HIP 13044 b.

PA-99-N2 vs Jupiter: Let’s Know the Differences & Similarities:

Researchers have found that PA-99-N2 is about 6.34 times the mass of Jupiter, which is roughly 2015.5 times the mass of Earth.
To figure out if life could exist on this planet, we must check if it’s in the “Goldilocks zone” of its star system.

The Evidence of Exoplanets in Andromeda Galaxy:

The habitable zone is like a cosmic sweet spot where a planet has the perfect conditions for liquid water, which is vital for life.

Now, here’s the catch: Andromeda, our distant space neighbor, is so far away that astronomers struggle to gather enough info about its stars and planets. It’s like trying to see something tiny from a very, very long distance.

In simple terms, because of the enormous cosmic gap, scientists can’t determine how many planets exist in the Andromeda galaxy.
It’s a bit like counting stars in the night sky with the lights turned off – a real challenge! As time goes on, scientists will probably create advanced tools to find and study new exoplanets not just in the Andromeda Galaxy but also in distant regions of space.

How Scientists Discovers Such Distant Exoplanets & Stars?

To locate planets in distant galaxies, advanced data processing algorithms are employed. These algorithms work diligently to detect even the tiniest changes in areas as small as a single pixel. Because of the huge distances involved, scientists haven’t been able to show us clear pictures of planets or exoplanets, such as PA-99-N2 faraway places. But they’re not giving up! They’re still on the hunt for life on other planets and finding new planets, keeping our dreams alive for more knowledge in the future.

One exciting possibility is a planet that’s about 6.34 times as massive as Jupiter. If they confirm its existence, it would be a groundbreaking discovery: the first known planet in a different galaxy.

The Twin Quasar Event in History!

A similar occurrence took place in 1996 when a group of astronomers detected an unusual fluctuation in the light curve of the Twin Quasar. This fluctuation appeared to be caused by a planet roughly three times the mass of Earth within the lensing galaxy YGKOW G1. However, the validity of these findings remains uncertain because the fortuitous alignment that led to its identification is unlikely to occur again.
If they confirm PA-99-N2 exoplanet, it would set a mind-blowing record as the farthest known planet which is 4 billion light-years away.

Is PA-99-N2 a planet?

Its discovery was initiated by a microlensing event in 1999, yet astronomers are currently in the process of verifying its existence. Locating planets in the expansive realm of space poses a significant challenge.

How big is PA-99-N2 compared to Earth?

Researchers have stated the mass of the PA-99-N2 to be about 6.34 Jupiter masses. That amounts as 2015.5 to the Earth masses.

Does PA-99-N2 have moons?

In Andromeda, there’s a planet called PA-99-N2 D, orbiting another planet called PA-99-N2, but it’s farther from the center. This planet is either a blue gas giant or an ice giant and has a set of rings that don’t line up and two moons.

What star does PA-99-N2 orbit?

PA-99-N2 b is a planet in another galaxy, Andromeda, that orbits the red giant star PA-99-N2.

Where is PA-99-N2?

PA-99-N2 is a red giant star in the Andromeda Galaxy, located incredibly far away from Earth at about 2,185,247 light-years (or 670,000 parsecs).

Is PA-99-N2 bigger than Jupiter?

In 1999, a microlensing event called PA-99-N2 occurred. It is providing an opportunity to find the first exoplanet. The one having a mass 6.34 times that of Jupiter outside our Milky Way galaxy.

How did Andromeda Galaxy get its name?

The most remarkable aspect of our night sky is the grand Andromeda Galaxy. It is one of the closest galaxies to Earth. And one of the rare galaxies that can be seen without telescopic assistance. Besides this, Andromeda gets its name from the princess of Ethiopia, whom the hero Perseus saved from being sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus, according to Greek mythology.

Some Crisp Facts About Andromeda Galaxy:

One more galaxy you should be aware of, besides our Milky Way, is the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s actually the closest galaxy to us. It’s worth noting that the universe boasts around two trillion galaxies in total. The Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years away from us. Astronomers are really curious about the Andromeda Galaxy because it’s our close space neighbor. Let’s dive into what we know about planets in Andromeda. Similar to our Milky Way Galaxy having the Solar System, the Andromeda Galaxy also harbors many intriguing celestial wonders.

Sagittarius A* is a gigantic black hole sitting at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy.

Sagittarius A* is a gigantic black hole

What is the Difference between Sagittarius A* & Black Holes?

When compared to black holes in the center of other galaxies we’ve observed, Sagittarius A* doesn’t shine as bright. This suggests that, unlike its counterparts, this black hole hasn’t been busily munching on the surrounding matter. However, recent data from NASA’s IXPE (Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer) telescope indicates that this sleeping giant had a snack about 200 years ago, munching on gas and other space scraps within its reach.

Distance of Sagittarius A* with Other Black Holes

Sagittarius A, the nearest massive black hole to Earth, sits 25,000 light years away. Despite its staggering distance from us, it’s truly mind-blowing to think this black hole is millions of times chunkier than our own Sun. Scientists often shorten it to Sgr A, “Sagittarius A* star.” It’s located in the Sagittarius constellation, smack in the middle of the Milky Way.
When earlier X-ray studies noticed that massive gas clouds near Sgr A* were recently giving off X-rays, scientists directed IXPE to look closer. Usually, these gas clouds in space, known as “molecular clouds,” are cold and dark, so their X-ray signals should have been weak. Instead, they were shining bright.

Frédéric Marin, a space scientist from the Astronomical Observatory of Strasbourg in France, shared:

“To explain why these enormous gas clouds are glowing, you could say they’re like a mirror reflecting a past burst of X-ray light,”

Marin took the lead in writing the new study, which was showcased in the journal Nature.

What is IXPE, and How it is Related to Sagittarius A*?

IXPE, which measures the direction and strength of X-ray light waves, studied these molecular clouds in February and March 2022. Astronomers found the origin of the reflected X-ray signal by mixing their findings with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory’s images and comparing them with older snapshots from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton project.

“Think of the polarization angle like a compass. It guides us towards the source of the light that disappeared a long time ago,” explained Riccardo Ferrazzoli, a space scientist at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Rome.

“And what do we find there? None other than Sgr A.”

X Rays Light Bounced Back from Huge Molecular Clouds

By examining the data, the team deduced that the X-rays from the huge molecular clouds were light bounced back from a bright, brief flare near or at Sagittarius A*. This flare might have been sparked by the black hole suddenly consuming nearby matter.
The data also gave scientists clues about how bright the original flare was and how long it lasted. This suggests that the event occurred around 200 Earth years ago, roughly at the start of the 1800s.

Our next challenge,” announced Steven Ehlert, a project scientist with IXPE at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, “is to verify what we’ve found and tighten the measurement’s wiggle room.

The intensity of occurance of Flare, and its Height

Further data could refine estimates of when the flare occurred and how intense it may have been at its highest. It will also help us understand how the big molecular clouds around the black hole are spread out in 3D.

Most importantly, such studies will help scientists learn more about the physical processes that could awaken Sagittarius A* again, even if only briefly.

Ehlert stated, “IXPE is vital to helping us understand how long it takes for the black hole at the heart of our galaxy to shift.” “We know that busy galaxies and massive black holes can shift on a timeframe we can comprehend.

We’re learning more about this one’s behavior and history of bursts over time, and we’re eager to keep an eye on it to discern which changes are typical and which aren’t.”

IXPE, A Collaborative Project!

IXPE is a collaborative project between NASA and the Italian Space Agency. Scientists and partners from 12 countries are involved in this project.

Marshall oversees IXPE. Ball Aerospace, tucked away in Broomfield, Colorado, works hand in hand with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder to keep the aircraft running smoothly.

The Milky Way has been a subject of fascination and wonder for humans for decades. This magnificent spiral galaxy is our home in the universe and also contains billions of stars and countless mysteries waiting to be unraveled. For many years, astronomers struggled to understand the galaxy’s structure, evolution, and history due to the lack of precise data on its stars. But now, thanks to advancements in technology and space exploration, we now have a better understanding of our galaxy’s structure and evolution. One such breakthrough is the Gaia mission.

Launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2013, the Gaia mission aims to chart the positions, distances, and also motions of a billion stars in the Milky Way and its neighboring galaxies. Gaia has an advanced telescope and imaging sensors. These have allowed it to gather an unprecedented amount of data. This data has revolutionized our understanding of the Milky Way’s past, present, and future.

What is the Gaia Mission?

The Gaia mission is a space observatory designed to measure the positions, distances, and motions of more than one billion stars in the Milky Way. Moreveor, The spacecraft operates at the second Lagrange point (L2) of the Sun-Earth system, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Furthermore, Gaia uses two telescopes to observe the stars and collect data on their positions, brightness, and spectra.

Furhtermore, Gaia has two telescopes with focal plane arrays that scan the sky simultaneously. The spacecraft spins slowly to cover a larger area of the sky, and it takes about six months for Gaia to complete one full scan.

What has Gaia revealed about the Milky Way?

The Gaia mission has provided unprecedented insights into the Milky Way’s structure. Moreover, The Gaia mission has also shed light on the Milky Way’s evolution over time. Here are some of the key findings:

The Milky Way is old:

Gaia data suggests that the Milky Way is about 13.6 billion years old, roughly the same age as the universe.

The Milky Way grew by accretion:

Gaia data supports the idea that the Milky Way grew by accreting smaller galaxies over time. Moreover, Gaia has detected the remnants of several past collisions with smaller galaxies, including the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.

The Milky Way’s star formation history:

Gaia data has also allowed astronomers to study the Milky Way’s star formation history in unprecedented detail. The data shows that the galaxy experienced bursts of star formation triggered by collisions with smaller galaxies.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy:

Gaia data confirms that our galaxy has a central bar-shaped structure, surrounded by spiral arms that extend outward.

The Milky Way’s disk is warped:

Gaia data also shows that the Milky Way’s disk is not flat but warped, likely due to interactions with nearby galaxies.

The Milky Way’s halo is inhomogeneous:

Gaia data reveals that the Milky Way’s halo, a roughly spherical region surrounding the galaxy, has a lumpy and uneven distribution of stars.

The Milky Way’s Formation and Evolution:

One of the primary goals of the Gaia mission is to trace the history of the Milky Way from its birth to the present day. Moreover, by measuring the positions and velocities of stars across the galaxy, Gaia has provided astronomers with a comprehensive 3D map of the Milky Way’s structure and dynamics.

The data also reveals that the Milky Way’s formation began with the collapse of clouds of gas and dust about 13.6 billion years ago. The first stars emerged from these clouds and formed the globular clusters we see today. Over time, the galaxy grew larger. This happened as smaller galaxies merged with it. These mergers triggered periods of intense star formation and shaped the structure of the galaxy.

Gaia has identified several “streams” of stars that were torn from smaller galaxies during their mergers with the Milky Way. Astronomers can study the colors and ages of these stars to reconstruct the history of these galactic mergers. This process provides insights into the formation and evolution of the Milky Way.

The Dark Matter Mystery:

The Gaia mission has also shed light on the mysterious substance known as dark matter, which makes up around 85% of the universe’s mass but cannot be directly observed. Dark matter exerts a gravitational force on stars and galaxies, and Gaia’s precise measurements of their motions have allowed astronomers to map the distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way.

The data suggests that the Milky Way’s dark matter halo is not a simple spherical shape, as previously believed, but is instead elongated and twisted. This finding challenges our current understanding of dark matter and raises new questions about its nature and properties.

Galactic Archaeology:

Another exciting field of research enabled by the Gaia mission is galactic archaeology. By studying the ages and compositions of stars across the galaxy, astronomers can trace the Milky Way’s history and evolution. Gaia has identified a group of stars that are moving in the opposite direction to the rest of the galaxy. This discovery indicates that these stars may have come from a smaller, merging galaxy.

Gaia has also revealed that the Milky Way’s spiral arms are not static structures, but rather dynamic and constantly changing. This discovery suggests that the spiral arms may be the result of galactic mergers or interactions with neighboring galaxies.

How has the Gaia mission impacted astronomy?

The Gaia mission has had a significant impact on astronomy, providing a wealth of data for researchers to study. Here are some of the ways that Gaia has influenced astronomy:

Improved understanding of the Milky Way:

Gaia has also provided unprecedented insights into the structure and evolution of the Milky Way. This has advanced our understanding of our home galaxy.

New insights into star formation:

Gaia’s data on star formation has allowed astronomers to study the birth and evolution of stars in greater detail.

Insights into the dark matter:

Gaia has also contributed to our understanding of dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up most of the matter in the universe. Gaia data has helped astronomers map the distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way.

Long story short:

The Gaia mission has provided a wealth of data that has allowed astronomers to study the Milky Way in unprecedented detail. Thanks to Gaia, we now have a better understanding of our home galaxy’s structure, evolution, and star formation history. The mission has also had a significant impact on astronomy, providing insights into dark matter and other mysteries of the universe. As the mission continues, we can expect even more groundbreaking discoveries in the years to come.


Published by: Sky Headlines

In 2013, scientists found a large gas planet similar to Jupiter. It is exoplanet ROXs 42Bb which is located about 500 light-years away. It orbits a cooler, dimmer M-type star which is 1.34 times wider than our Sun.

  • Radius, Weight & Diameter:

This gas giant, named ROXs 42Bb has a radius 1.12 times that of Jupiter and weighs as much as 9 Jupiter’s. Despite being only 12% larger than Jupiter, it’s nine times as massive.

  • The Intriguing Discovery of ROXs 42Bb:

Researchers used a technique called Direct Imaging to spot ROXs 42 Bb. This involves capturing actual images of the planet while blocking out its bright star’s light. Direct Imaging is relatively new but gaining popularity in the search for exoplanets.

  • Formation & Scientific Theories:

The exact way this planet formed is not clear. There are theories about it gathering gas, dust, and other materials from the star’s core (accretion), gravitational instability in the system, or a formation process resembling binary stars, which didn’t fully happen.

  • Temperature Insights:

Initial models suggest ROXs 42 Bb has a high effective temperature, around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1730 degrees Celsius), in contrast to Earth’s much lower temperature of 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 degrees Celsius).

Atmospheric Details of ROXs 42Bb:

ROXs 42 Bb probably has a cloudy and dusty atmosphere, but we need more research to be sure. It’s tricky to tell the difference between a giant planet and a brown dwarf. Brown dwarfs are like failed stars because they didn’t gather enough mass for nuclear fusion in their cores. Currently, we classify brown dwarfs as having about 13 times the mass of Jupiter. ROXs 42 Bb still fits the definition of a gas giant based on our current information.

Around ROXs 42 Bb, there might be five possible brown dwarf exoplanets, but we’re still confirming this based on different data.

ROXs 42Bb
The Keck Telescope took this direct image of the ROXs-42 system, showing the gas giant ROXs-42Bb to the right of the star.

ROXs 42Bb vs Earth:

ROXs-42Bb’s orbit around its star is very different from Earth’s orbit around the Sun. It’s 157 times farther away, indicating an unconventional formation.

Let’s Learn Some Quick & Interesting Facts:

  • ROXs 42b is in our Milky Way galaxy. It’s not part of our Solar System, which has only one star, the Sun.
  • ROXs 42b has its own set of planets.
  • We haven’t found any planets around this star yet, but if we do, they’d likely be listed in the Exoplanet EU database.
  • No humans or probes have been to ROXs 42b, and there are no plans for visits.
  • ROXs 42b is a bit smaller than the Sun.
  • It’s roughly 470.19 light-years away from Earth. When we look at a star, we’re seeing it as it was many years ago. So, the number of light-years is also the number of years in the past we’re observing it.

What is ROXs 42Bb’s diameter?

ROXs 42Bb is a huge planet known as a Black Gold Super Jupiter, and it circles around ROXs 42B. This planet is sizable, about 2.5 times the size of Jupiter, which is roughly 5 times Jupiter’s diameter, or about 350,000 kilometers wide.

Is ROXs 42Bb the biggest planet?

The biggest planet known in the universe is likely ROXs 42 Bb, a huge exoplanet discovered in 2013. It’s a massive gas giant, situated about 500 light-years from Earth. NASA estimates that its radius is approximately 1.12 times that of Jupiter’s.

Is ROXs 42Bb a failed star?

ROXs 42Bb is the largest known exoplanet. We spotted it in 2013 using direct imaging. Originally thought to be a failed star, it’s now classified as a gas giant and is nine times heavier than Jupiter. It takes nearly 2,000 years to complete one orbit around its star.

What is ROXs 42Bb made of?

ROXs 42 Bb is a gas giant, much larger than Earth, and like Jupiter and Saturn, it’s mainly made up of hydrogen and helium.

Where is ROXs 42Bb?

ROXs 42Bb is near the young star ROXs 42B, located about 440 light-years away. Both are part of the ρ Ophiuchus star-forming region in the Ophiuchus constellation.

How is ROXs 42B compared to the Sun?

ROXs 42B is a binary star system with two smaller, cooler stars compared to the Sun. They’re quite young, around seven million years old, and are located about 390 light years from Earth. The planet, ROXs 42Bb, is about 11 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits its stars at a distance of roughly 22 billion kilometers (14 billion miles).

Who discovered ROXs 42Bb?

Astronomer Thayne Currie found ROXs 42Bb. It’s a planet-like object that orbits the binary M star ROXs 42B and is probably connected to the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. Thayne Currie, from the University of Toronto, announced this discovery on October 17, 2013.

What is the color of ROXs 42Bb?

ROXS 42B is a Red Dwarf Star in the Ophiuchus Molecular Cloud.

ROXs 42Bb Compared to Jupiter:

Planet size is relative and depends on how you measure it. In space, there are many planets larger than Jupiter, both detected and potentially yet to be found.

For example, there are some “puffy” planets that are twice as wide as Jupiter but not as heavy. However, currently, the largest known planet is ROXs 42 Bb, which is only slightly wider than Jupiter but nine times more massive.

The exciting thing about space exploration is that we may discover even larger planets in the future. Right now, ROXs 42 Bb holds the record as the biggest known planet in the universe.

Discover the most fascinating information about space facts and cosmic space. We’re sure that most of the information listed here will make you jaw-dropping!

Take a look at the information and broaden your knowledge. The realm of space remains one of the most interesting topics to study.

Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, and planetary scientist, says:

“The universe is infinite that we humans seem so small and fleeting.”

In a world as vast and as largely unexplored as space, be aware that these are facts to the extent that our current understanding and knowledge about the universe as well as physics. With more research and improved technology, we can come up with discoveries, and facts about space that could change everything.

Mind Blowing Space Facts!

We will cover some of the best space facts for kids, as well as for adults in this section.

1- The space between different planets of our solar system

This list of space facts with a well-known one. Many people believe that it’s possible to fit every planet between Moon as well as the Earth However, this isn’t always the case.

It can be hard to comprehend just how vast the distances between us are. If you were to take all of the planets that are part of the Solar System, Earth excluded they could be positioned in between Moon as well as the Earth at the point that they are the furthest from each other (known as the apogee).

It is difficult to get around when the Moon as well as Earth are closer, and you would require rotating the planets in order to get them in. If you consider that the Moon as well as Earth are close together (perigee) you don’t be able to squeeze them all together.

space between different planets of our solar system

2- The Sun isn’t the center of Jupiter’s orbit- One of the Amazing Space Facts

It’s not as insane as it sounds. The planets all revolve around the Sun Most have their center of orbit (barycenter) within the Sun.

However, when it is about Jupiter and the Sun the barycenter is just a little bit outside of the Sun. Although every thing in the Solar System indeed orbits the Sun, however, the situation is slightly more complicated. Planets as well as those of the Sun (and the other stars) are orbiting around their common centers of mass. Since Jupiter is huge, the barycenter of Jupiter and the Sun isn’t inside it. The sun is also huge. Jupiter isn’t in the Sun but is outside. The barycenter’s position is slightly different based on the position of the other planets. 

Space Facts img 2

3- The Sun holds about 99.86% of all mass of our Solar System

Talk about the massive. Solar System includes everything, the moons, the planets asteroids, dwarf planets, and comets. Moreover, if we talk about the sun of our solar system, then it holds 99.8% of all the solar system, Which means the mass of our sun is no much big than our Earth, and other planets. Jupiter is the largest of planets in the Solar System, and is 2.5 times bigger than all the other planets.

Space Facts img 3

4- If teleportation was possible and you could teleport anywhere in space, you could look at our past- One of the Scary Space Facts

In a fantasy world where instant teleportation can be achieved and astoundingly high-quality telescopes are commonplace, it would be possible to see back into time.

Let’s imagine that you travel to a planet that is only a light-year away. If you aim your telescope towards Earth it will look at the past for a year. If you’re only at a distance of one light year away the light that leaves the Earth takes about a year to reach you.

The farther you move, the more into the past you’d be able to look (with your mega zoom telescope). If you travel far enough, you might even be able to see dinosaurs. This is one of the scary space facts because if we would be able to look into our past, and travel. It would surely be very disturbing and terrifying!


5- Some of the stars you see in the sky might not exist anymore

The stars that are visible in the sky range between a few thousand light years from us (with an eye without) or millions of light years away (with the aid of a telescope). And it takes that much time for the light of those stars to be able to reach us. If the star 10,000 light years away from us exploded today, it would require 10.000 for the explosion to be visible from Earth. If you look up at the night sky’s stars, you are looking at their previous history.

stars you see in the sky might not exist anymore

According to Christa McAuliffe, a US Teacher and astronaut:

Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space”. 

Why is space silent?

The space vacuum contains essentially no air. Since sound is simply vibrational air, it does not have air to move and, therefore, there is no sound. If you were on a spacecraft and another spaceship exploded, there would be absolutely nothing.

What is space made of?

The outer space isn’t empty. It is a nearly perfect vacuum, containing particles with a very low density that are mostly plasmas of helium and hydrogen and magnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation neutrinos, dust, as well as cosmic radiation.

Why is space dark?

Since space is a nearly perfect vacuum — which means it contains the tiniest amount of particles it’s nearly impossible for the space between the planets and stars to scatter light towards our eyes. With no light entering our eyes, we are nothing but black.

Is space infinite?

Cosmologists don’t know whether it is truly large or if it is simply extremely big. To determine the size of the universe Astronomers look at the curvature of the universe. They have also discovered some of the scary space facts, and they are still discovering. The geometric curve of large scales of the universe can tell us about the overall shape of the universe. If our universe can be geometrically flat, it could be infinite.

Who visited space first?

Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union was the first person to be in space. His spacecraft, Vostok 1 circled Earth at 27,400 kilometers per hour, with the flight lasting for 108 minutes.

Who visited space first?

The Great Attractor – One of the Scary Space Facts!

We’re wrapping up this list of space facts by introducing “The Great Attractor. There are a lot of mysteries in space however one of the most significant can be found in the Great Attractor. This Great Attractor is a central gravitational anomaly and is the gravitational center in the Laniakea Supercluster which comprises around 100,000 galaxies that including the Milky Way.

The existence of the Great Attractor is known to us, and we can detect its effects on galaxies. But it is not visible to us because the Great Attractor itself is obscured by our galaxy. Our galaxy blocks our view and we’d need to be at the opposite end of it to be able to see it.

Since 1995, scientists have found more than 4,000 Earth-like exoplanets. It would surely be your surprise that these planets are outside our solar system. NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration page says the Kepler Space Telescope found most of these.  Astronomers really wanted to find the first “alien Earth.” The Earth-like planets in the Milky Way.  New discoveries show that many small, rocky planets like ours are all over the galaxy.

How Earth-like Exoplanets could Resemble the Earth?

A planet should be small and rocky, like Earth, if it wants to be a good place for life. Besides this, it also needs to be in the right spot around its star, not too hot or too cold. Henceforth, this special spot is sometimes called the “Goldilocks” zone, where it’s just right for liquid water on the planet. As telescopes get better, we’ll also look at other things like what the planet’s air is like and how active its star is.

Earth-like Exoplanets
(Image credit: Nazarii Neshcherenskyi via Getty Images)

Even though finding a planet just like Earth is hard, we’ve found some that are pretty close to being similar to our home.

Earth-like Exoplanets: Let’s Have a Quick Glance!

To answer your quest of how many Earth like planets are there in the universe. We have curated a list of Earth-like exoplanets. So, let’s have a keen and some valuable content!

Gliese 667Cc:

Exoplanets List and Names 2023
An artist’s impression of the surface of Gliese 667Cc. (Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

This planet is merely 22 light-years away from us. It’s at least 4.5 times heftier than Earth, as indicated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This exoplanet whirls around its host star in a mere 28 days, but here’s the twist. The star is a cooler red dwarf. Which is chillier than our sun. This chill factor led scientists to speculate that Gliese 667Cc resides within the habitable zone. Where conditions might allow liquid water to exist.

However, science says that it is one of the Earth-like Exoplanets, but a very noteworthy point arises. Gliese 667Cc was initially detected using the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope in Chile. And it might be positioned too close to the red dwarf. Because the exoplanet is so close to the red dwarf star, it could be in danger of getting heated up by the star’s strong bursts of light called flares.


Kepler-22b is positioned 600 light-years from us. It holds a unique distinction. It clinched the title of being the very first planet discovered by Kepler within its parent star’s habitable zone. However, there’s a catch. It is world dwarfs Earth in size. It is measuring about 2.4 times larger. What remains unclear is the composition of this “super-Earth.” Is it rocky, liquid, or perhaps gaseous? The answer is vague for now!

Besides this, let us tell you an interesting fact too. Kepler-22b’s orbit takes about 290 days, which bears a resemblance to Earth’s 365-day cycle.  Being one the resembled Earth-like Exoplanets, it circles a G-class star, akin to our sun, but with a twist. This star is smaller and cooler compared to our familiar sun.

Habitable Exoplanets
Artist’s illustration of Kepler-69c. (Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

This Earth like exoplanet Kepler-22b is located a vast 2,700 light-years away. It presents another enigma. This world succeed the Earth’s size by about 70 percent. However, the makeup of Kepler-69c remains a mystery, much like its counterparts.

Taking a closer look, Kepler-69c takes a brisk 242-day journey to complete one orbit around its star. This places it in a position in its own solar system similar to where Venus resides in ours. An interesting distinction arises in the form of Kepler-69c’s host star. It’s roughly 80 percent as radiant as our sun. Which if giving us a hit of the possibility that this planet snuggles within its star’s habitable realm.


NASA has discovered a planet called Kepler-62f. It is about 40% bigger than Earth. This planet goes around a star that’s cooler than our Sun. It takes 267 days for Kepler-62f to complete one orbit. And it’s in the part of space that’s just right for living things.

Here’s an interesting fact: Even though Kepler-62f is closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, the star doesn’t give off as much light.

Kepler-62f is quite far away, around 1,200 light-years from us. It’s a good size for a planet, which means it might be rocky like Earth. And there’s a chance it could have oceans, which is pretty exciting!


This planet is just a little bit bigger than Earth, not more than 10% larger. Among the group of planets, one called TRAPPIST-1e stands out. Scientists think it could be a good place for life we know. It’s in the habitable zone, but it’s on the outer edge.

Earth-like Exoplanets
This illustration shows the TRAPPIST exoplanets nearest their star. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Then there’s Kepler-186f. It’s different from Earth because it only gets a third of the energy from its star. This planet is about 500 light-years away from us.

Around a star called TRAPPIST-1, there’s an amazing group of planets. They’re the most Earth-sized planets we’ve found in a zone where conditions might be right for life. That is the reason science says it is one the most acceptable Earth-like exoplanets. There are seven of them altogether, and one of these special planets is called TRAPPIST-1e. It’s the most likely place where life could exist, at least as we know it.


Habitable Planets
A planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky. (Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Kepler-186f’s star is a red dwarf, which makes it not exactly like Earth. This interesting planet is signaling to us from a faraway distance of around 500 light-years.

What exoplanet is most like Earth?

Kepler-452b, occasionally dubbed as Earth 2.0 or Earth’s Cousin due to its features, is a captivating super-Earth exoplanet. This world gracefully revolves along the inner boundaries of its star Kepler-452’s habitable zone. Notably, Kepler-452b stands as the sole inhabitant of this planetary system. Its other identity, Kepler Object of Interest KOI-7016.01, holds relevance in the astronomical community.

Habitable zone
An artist’s impression compares Kepler 452b with Earth. (Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Are there any Earth-like exoplanets?

  • Gliese 667Cc.
  • Kepler-22b.
  • Kepler-69c.
  • Kepler-62f.
  • Kepler-186f.
  • Kepler-442b.
  • Kepler-452b.
  • Kepler-1649c.

What is the closest Earth-like exoplanets?

Merely four light-years distant, Proxima Centauri b holds the esteemed title of being our nearest known exoplanetary neighbor. This intriguing celestial body, known as Proxima b, falls within the super Earth category. It gracefully orbits an M-type star. Weighing in at 1.27 times the mass of Earth, this exoplanet completes its orbit around its star in a mere 11.2 days. Positioned at a distance of 0.0485 astronomical units (AU) from its star, Proxima b entered our awareness with its discovery announcement in 2016.

Have we found another planet like Earth?

NASA researchers have just unveiled an exciting discovery. They’ve come across a planet known as TOI 700 e, which boasts a striking resemblance to Earth. The size and shape of TOI 700 e are nearly identical to our own planet, standing at about 95%. Adding to its intrigue, this newfound world features a solid, rocky exterior. What’s even more captivating is that TOI 700 e occupies a special place within its star’s habitable zone, suggesting the tantalizing possibility of water existing on its surface.

Does Kepler-452b have humans?

The presence of life on Kepler-452b remains uncertain, yet intriguing parallels with Earth emerge. Notably, this exoplanet shares a resemblance with our own world. Kepler-452b, for instance, takes approximately 385 Earth days to gracefully complete its orbit around its star. This duration is just slightly extended compared to the span of one Earth year.

What habitable planet is 4 light years?

Astronomers have caused quite a stir with their latest revelations about Proxima b—an exoplanet deemed “highly habitable.” This distant world is merely a short 4.2 light-year hop away from Earth. The scientific community is abuzz with excitement as they contemplate the potential significance of this discovery. It’s believed that Proxima b might be making significant impact across the cosmos, as it possesses conditions that could support vast oceans of liquid water.

What other planet can we live on?

In the most recent turn of events, a groundbreaking discovery unfolded. Merely last year, scientists revealed the existence of yet another Earth-like planet. This remarkable world orbits around Proxima Centauri, one of our nearest neighboring stars. Remarkably, this planet stands as the prime contender in our search for a suitable habitat for human life.

Is there a planet like Earth in the habitable zone?

Using information from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, scientists have done something incredible. They’ve found a planet called TOI 700 e that’s about the same size as Earth. It’s in a good spot around its star, where it’s not too hot or too cold. This special area is where water on a planet could be liquid.

How the Earth-like Exoplanets can Paves the Way in Space Science?

Finding star systems with planets like Earth in this special area is really important. It helps scientists learn more about how our own solar system began.

In the past, many of these planets might have lost their water when they were young. But in 2018, a study suggested that some of these planets could have even more water than Earth’s oceans.

Scientists define the hopeful habitable zone as the area around a star where there could have been liquid water at some point in the past. It goes beyond the more conservative habitable zone, where scientists think liquid water might have been possible for a long time.

Our solar system is the largest object in the universe, but the thought of how big is the solar system often causes us chills. But don’t worry, we have got you covered. Let’s have a look over some of the amazing facts about our solar system, and learn valuable content!

What is the Radius & Diameter of the Sun?

The sun is almost a perfect sphere. Its size is very similar at the equator and the poles, differing by only 6.2 miles (10 km). The sun’s average radius measures 432,450 miles (696,000 kilometers), which gives it a diameter of around 864,938 miles (1.392 million km). According to NASA, you could fit 109 Earths across the sun’s surface. The sun’s circumference is roughly 2,715,396 miles (4,370,006 km).

While it’s the largest object around, the sun appears quite ordinary next to other stars. For instance, Betelgeuse, a red giant, surpasses the sun significantly, being roughly 700 times larger and approximately 14,000 times brighter.

NASA says:

“We have found stars that are 100 times bigger in diameter than our sun. Truly those stars are enormous. We have also seen stars that are just a tenth the size of our sun.”

What is the Size of the Solar System in Light Years?

  • The Moon is located about 1.3 light-seconds away from Earth.
  • Earth sits approximately 8 light-minutes (around 92 million miles) from the Sun. This indicates that sunlight takes 8 minutes to travel to us.
  • Jupiter’s distance from Earth is roughly 35 light minutes. So, if you were to shine a light from Earth, it would take about 30 minutes for the light to reach Jupiter.
  • Pluto isn’t at the outermost boundary of our solar system. Beyond Pluto lies the Kuiper Belt, and farther out is the Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud forms a round layer of icy objects encircling our entire solar system.
  • If you could travel at the speed of light, it would take you approximately 1.87 years to reach the edge of the Oort Cloud. This implies that our solar system spans about 4 light-years from one end of the Oort Cloud to the other.

How the Planets are Aligned in a Specific Way?

One of the coolest things to watch in the night sky is when two or more planets get really close to each other. Astronomers call this a “conjunction.” Sometimes, when we look at the way planets move around, we also see something called an “alignment.” It’s like the planets are lined up in a row. In the picture on the left, you can see this happening with Mercury (M), Venus (V), and Earth (E).

how big is the solar system
A planetary alignment is only what we perceive from Earth and not a physical line-up of planets in our solar system. Withan Tor/Shutterstock

When we look from Earth, Venus and Mercury can seem super close to the sun. If they match up perfectly, they might even look like black dots moving across the sun’s face at the same time. This is called a “transit.”

Now, let’s talk about how often these cool planet line-ups happen. Earth takes about 365 days to go all the way around the sun. Mercury takes 88 days, and Venus takes 224 days to do the same thing. The time between these line-up events needs each planet to finish a whole number of trips around the sun before they get back into the same pattern you see in the picture.

For a simpler example, let’s imagine that Mercury takes a quarter of a year (like three months) to go around the sun, and Venus takes two-thirds of a year (a bit more than half a year) to finish its trip around the sun.

How Big is the Solar System Compared to the Sun?

The sun is at the center of the solar system, and it’s the biggest thing around. It holds almost all the mass in the solar system, about 99.8%. It’s huge, about 109 times wider than Earth. So, if you are wondering how big is the sun, then let’s give you an idea. give you an idea.

how big is the solar system
One of the first images taken by the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter during its first close pass at the sun in 2020. (Image credit: Solar Orbiter/EUI Team/ ESA & NASA; CSL, IAS, MPS, PMOD/WRC, ROB, UCL/MSSL)

The sun’s surface is really hot, about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius). But deep inside, at the core, things get much hotter – over 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius) – because of nuclear reactions. Just to match the sun’s energy, you’d need to explode 100 billion tons of dynamite every single second. That’s a lot of power, as NASA tells us.

Our sun is just one of more than 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s about 25,000 light-years away from the center of the galaxy, and it takes about 250 million years to complete one trip around that center. The sun is still young compared to some stars. Scientists call it a “Population I” star, which means it has a good amount of heavy elements. There are older stars in the “Population II,” and there might have been even older ones called “Population III,” although we haven’t found any of those yet.

How Did we Come to Our Solar System Name?

We call our group of planets the “solar system” because we use the word “solar” to talk about things connected to our star. This comes from the Latin word for the Sun, “Solis”. Our group of planets is found in one of the outer curls of the Milky Way galaxy.

How big is the solar system in miles?

If we consider the Oort Cloud as a sort of rough edge, our solar system’s size reaches about 2 light years. To give you an idea, that’s nearly 12 trillion miles!

How big is solar system in light-years?

Imagine if you could move as fast as light. It would take you roughly 1.87 years to get to the outer edge of the Oort Cloud. This also means that our entire solar system spans around 4 light-years from one end of the Oort Cloud to the other.

Is 1 hour in space 7 years on Earth?

The tale goes like this: spending 1 hour on that specific planet equals 7 years out in space. Time dilation is a true concept, but thinking it could be that extreme in any normal situation is quite unrealistic. In reality, it’s just a tiny fraction of a second, not several years.

How big is the Universe solar system?

The part of the Universe we can see spans 93 billion light-years. But if we look at our own galaxy, the Milky Way, it’s much smaller, only about 100,000 light-years across. Exploring just our galaxy would take countless lifetimes, not to mention the whole Universe. Another really old structure is a giant group of galaxies called the Hyperion Supercluster.

Many people think that the model of the timeline of the Big Bang paves its way to explain a lot. And that is true! For instance, it tells us about the universe’s history and development. Moreover, the universe began as an incredibly hot and dense point.  Besides telling you some crisp information, it also tells you that the universe started around 13.7 billion years ago.

 But, here arise a question how did the universe change from being only a few millimeters in size to the immense expanse that we see today?

To make it easier to understand. Let’s break down the journey of this timeline to the present into some simple steps:

Timeline of the Big Bang – Is it a Space Exploration?

You will be very surprised to know that the Big Bang wasn’t a space explosion. Researchers clarify that it signaled the birth of space across the entire universe. As per the Big Bang theory, the universe came to exist as an incredibly hot and dense point in space.

Timeline of the Big Bang
An illustration of the timeline of the universe following the big bang. (Image credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)

Furthermore, what happened before this moment remains unclear to cosmologists. However, using advanced space missions, ground-based telescopes, and complex calculations. Scientists have been working diligently to paint a clearer picture of the universe’s initial stages and how it formed.

Besides this, a significant part of this effort comes from studying the cosmic microwave background. This phenomenon tells us that the lingering glow of light and radiation that originates after the Big Bang. Spread throughout the universe, this can be detected by microwave instruments too. This phenomenon allows scientists to gather pieces of information about the universe’s early history, and how did the big bang happen!

The Inflation Stage – Where the Universe Timelines Underwent an Exponential Expansion!

During the universe’s early days, when it was extremely young. Around a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second (a really tiny fraction!). The universe went through an extraordinary phase of rapid growth. This occurrence, known as inflation, saw the universe undergo exponential expansion. Throughout this time, the universe doubled in size at least 90 times.

David Spergel is a theoretical astrophysicist at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J.. He told that after inflation, the universe continued to grow, but at a slower rate.

“The universe was expanding, and as it expanded, it got cooler and less dense.”

The Formation of Different Compounds in the Timeline of the Big Bang

In the first three minutes after the universe came into existence. Thus, the lightweight chemical elements started to form. As the universe kept expanding, the dropping temperatures led to collisions between protons and neutrons. Which results in the creation of deuterium. It is an isotope of hydrogen. A significant portion of this deuterium then combined to produce helium.

Universe Origins
WMAP has produced a new, more detailed picture of the infant universe. Colors indicate “warmer” (red) and “cooler” (blue) spots. (Image credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)

The Phase of “Recombination”:

Around 380,000 years after the Big Bang, matter had cooled down enough for electrons to join with nuclei, creating neutral atoms. This phase is called “recombination.” The free electrons come together and made the universe become see-through. The light that was released during this period still exists today. And it is detectable radiation known as the cosmic microwave background.

After recombination, there was a dark period before stars and other bright objects appeared.

Big Bang Theory Timeline – The Dark Era!

About 400 million years after the Big Bang, the universe started to move out of the dark period. This crucial phase in the universe’s development is known as the age of re-ionization.

While it was initially thought to have taken over half a billion years, you will be surprised to know about the recent observations. They have led scientists to consider that re-ionization might have happened faster than previously believed.

During this timeline of the Big Bang, the clusters of gas came together to form the very first stars and galaxies. Besides this, the ultraviolet light emitted from these energetic events played a part in spreading out. It has cleared away most of the nearby neutral hydrogen gas.

Cosmic Microwave Background Theory – Significant Events of Universe Timeline

Astronomers are tirelessly exploring the vast reaches of the universe to find the most distant and ancient galaxies. This pursuit helps them understand how the early universe was like. Furthermore, by studying the cosmic microwave background, astronomers can effectively trace back and piece together the events that happened before.

Timeline of the Big Bang
An image taken BY NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, showing a cluster of galaxies residing 10 billion light-years away. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/University of Florida, Gainsville/University of Missouri-Kansas City/UC Davis)

For instance, many insights gained from earlier missions like WMAP and the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). Both launched in 1989, as well as ongoing missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, which began its mission in 1990. They all work together to contribute to the scientific effort of solving long-standing mysteries.

The Formation of “Milky Way” in the Big Bang Timeline:

Scientists believe that our solar system formed a little more than 9 billion years after the Big Bang. Which makes it roughly 4.6 billion years old. Current calculations indicate that the sun is just one of an astonishing 100 billion stars that exist in our Milky Way galaxy. It follows a path around 25,000 light-years away from the central core of the galaxy.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope
An infrared view of a developing star taken by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. It illustrates what our solar system might have looked like billions of years ago. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/AURA)

Different Galaxies & Seeing of the Distant Stars:

During the 1960s and 1970s, astronomers started considering that there could be more mass in the universe than what we can see. One of these astronomers was Vera Rubin, who worked at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She looked at how fast stars were moving at different places within galaxies.

According to basic physics by Newton, stars at the edges of a galaxy should move slower compared to stars closer to the center. However, Rubin noticed something different. She discovered that there was no change in the speeds of stars as you moved farther out from the center. In fact, she found that all stars in a galaxy appeared to be moving around the center at roughly the same speed.

Big Bang and the Universe's Origins
An illustration of Earth surrounded by filaments of dark matter called “hairs”. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)


In the 1920s, an astronomer named Edwin Hubble made a groundbreaking discovery about the universe. Using a newly constructed telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. Hubble revealed something transformative: the universe isn’t standing still; it’s actually getting bigger.

Fast forward to 1998, and the famous Hubble Space Telescope, named after that same pioneering astronomer. He used on studying distant exploding stars known as supernovas. Its findings brought to light a remarkable insight: a significant time in the past saw the universe expanding at a slower rate than it is today. This discovery was important because it went against earlier beliefs. Where it is defined that the gravitational pull of matter in the universe would slow down its expansion or possibly even cause it to contract.

What is the timeline of the Big Bang theory?

  • The Big Bang. 10-43 seconds.
  • The Universe Takes Shape. 10-6 seconds.
  • Formation of Basic Elements. 3 seconds.
  • The Radiation Era. 10,000 years.
  • Beginning the Era of Matter Domination. 300,000 years.
  • Birth of Stars and Galaxies. 300 million years.
  • Birth of the Sun. 5 Billion Years Before the Present (BP)
  • Earliest Life.

What are two main eras in Big Bang timeline?

Since the Big Bang, the universe has gone through several eras distinguished by the behavior of the universe’s fundamental forces and particles.

  1. Planck Era.
  2. Grand Unification Era.
  3. Electroweak Era.
  4. Elementary Particle Era.
  5. Era of Nucleosynthesis.
  6. Era of Atoms.

What are the 7 steps of the Big Bang theory?

#1 – Inflation & the Beginning

#2 – A Hot Mess & a Jumble of Particles

#3 – Cooling Cosmos & Quarks> Protons + Neutrons

#4 – Dark, Hot, and Foggy Universe (EP)

#5 – Let There Be Light & Hydrogen + Helium

#6 – Giant Clouds, Galaxies, & Stars (by He & H)

#7 – Heavy Elements In/Become Stars

What are the 5 theories of the origin of the universe?

Throughout history, people have come up with different ideas to explain things they didn’t understand. These ideas ranged from thinking the Earth was flat to believing everything revolved around us, and then realizing the Sun was at the center. Later, we learned about the Big Bang and an even faster expansion called the Inflationary Big Bang. These ideas were based on what people knew at the time. Even though they might not be completely right, we shouldn’t just call them wrong. It’s more accurate to say they were a bit imperfect because they matched what people knew back then, but they might not explain everything completely.

Dark Matter & Dark Energy!

Even as our understanding of how the universe formed and grew has expanded greatly, there are still several unanswered questions that await solutions. One of the most prominent mysteries involves the puzzling realms of dark matter and dark energy. However, cosmologists continue their efforts to explore the complexities of the universe, aiming for a more complete understanding of where it came from.

The Contribution of JWST:

A significant stride in this ongoing journey was the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2021. This advanced telescope has the goal of advancing the search to uncover the elusive properties of dark matter. Additionally, its infrared instruments did poise to look both far into the distant past and forward through the unfolding story of the universe’s evolution. This could potentially shed light on crucial aspects of how the universe originated and developed.

The zodiacal light meaning is the false dawn when observed before sunrise. And it presents as a subtle, soft, roughly triangular white radiance visible in the night sky. It gives the impression of stretching from the direction of the Sun and following the zodiac. When crossing the ecliptic Earth’s orbital path around the Sun. The scattering of sunlight by interplanetary dust gives rise to this effect.

What is the Perfect Time to Observe Zodiacal Light?

Zodiacal light can be seen only during twilight. And the time is after sunset in the spring and before sunrise in the fall. This occurs when the zodiac lies at a sharp angle relative to the horizon. However, the faintness of the glow means it gets overshadowed. And it gets overshadowed by the brightness of moonlight or light pollution, often making it impossible to detect.

Zodiacal Light

What Causes Zodiacal Light? Let’s Know the Exact Reason!

The zodiacal light emerges due to sunlight reflecting off dust from comets and asteroids that congregates within the plane of the Solar System. The heat from the Sun causes ices laden with dust on comets to vaporize, expanding outward and forming the comet’s coma. Some of this material is push back by the pressure of sunlight, creating a tail that diffuses along the comet’s orbit and enjoying a subsequent existence as the zodiacal light. Additionally, dust resulting from asteroid collisions significantly contributes to this mix. A considerable portion of this dust settles within the Solar System’s plane, scattering sunlight much like the way clouds of dust are stir up by galloping horses.

zodiacal light cone
Venus and Mars ornament the base of the zodiacal light cone this week. The planets and light cone are centered on the ecliptic which runs through the zodiac constellations Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries in the western sky in February.
Source: Stellarium

What is Zodiacal Cloud & How it is Related to Jupiter-Family Comets?

The interplanetary dust within the Solar System collectively shapes a dense cloud resembling a pancake, referred to as the zodiacal cloud. This cloud spans the ecliptic plane. Around 85 percent of this dust originates from sporadic breakups of Jupiter-family comets that are in a state of dormancy. Jupiter-family comets possess orbital periods shorter than 20 years and remain dormant when not actively emitting gases, though they could potentially do so in the future.

The initial comprehensive dynamic model of the zodiacal cloud indicates that the dust must be released into orbits that approach Jupiter in order to create enough disturbance to account for the thickness of the zodiacal dust cloud. Dust particles within meteoroid streams are notably larger, ranging from 300 to 10,000 micrometers in diameter, and they disintegrate over time, transforming into smaller zodiacal dust particles.

What is Poynting-Robertson Effect & How Can it Provides Guidance for its Light?

The Poynting-Robertson effect guides the dust into orbits that are more circular. Though still slightly elongate, causing them to gradually spiral towards the Sun. As a result, a constant influx of fresh particles is necessary to sustain the zodiacal cloud. The cometary dust and dust originating from collisions between asteroids play a significant role in maintaining the dust cloud that generates the zodiacal light.

The size of particles can be reduce through collisions or the process of space weathering. When particles are worn down to dimensions smaller than 10 micro-meters. The pressure exerted by solar radiation propels these grains out of the inner Solar System. Subsequently, the supply of dust is re-fill through the deposition of material from comets.

In 2015, findings from the secondary ion dust spectrometer COSIMA aboard the ESA/Rosetta orbiter affirmed that the likely sources of interplanetary dust are Jupiter-family comets.

How Can You View this Spectacular Sight?

In a dark expanse of sky, the zodiacal light takes on the appearance of a gentle cone or wedge. Its brightness is most visible near the western horizon. And as it ascends, it gradually tapers and fades. You could observe its faintest portions extending to an altitude of at least 45°. Under a truly pristine sky, the zodiacal light doesn’t cease but persists as the even fainter zodiacal band that extends across the eastern sky.

Milky Way
To see the zodiacal light, find a location with a dark, light-pollution-free sky in the west-southwest direction and look for a tall, Milky Way-like glow above the western horizon at the end of evening twilight. Its tapering form reaches to 45° elevation or higher.
Bob King

Solar Spectrum Mirror – A Lens Shaped Region in Space

Zodiacal light emerges as a result of sunlight bouncing off dust particles within the Solar System, which are cosmic dust. As a consequence, its spectrum mirrors that of the solar spectrum. The source of the zodiacal light lies within a lens-shaped region in space, centered around the sun and extending well beyond Earth’s orbit. This substance is refer to as the interplanetary dust cloud. Given that a large portion of this material resides close to the plane of the Solar System, the zodiacal light is visible along the ecliptic.

The quantity of material necessary to generate the observable zodiacal light is rather minimal. If we consider this material in the form of particles measuring 1 mm each. And if each of these particles boasts the same reflecting power (albedo) as Earth’s moon. And the distance between these two is around 8 km.

Zodiacal Light Time – Let’s See it With Human Eye!

When trying to catch a glimpse of the zodiacal light, keep an eye out for something substantial. It spans a significant portion of the celestial realm. The optimal time to witness this phenomenon is as evening twilight draws to a close. During this period, the arch of light reaches its pinnacle, shining most brightly. This brightness persists for a minimum of an hour after twilight concludes. And it gradually fading as it descends towards the western horizon. In this particular season, the planets Venus and Mars will linger near the bottom of the luminous glow. And they are contributing an extra touch of picturesque splendor to the vista.

discovery of space
Looking for a great photo opportunity with the zodiacal light? On Feb. 20th, the thin crescent Moon will join Venus and Mars, which will be in close conjunction low in the western sky.
Source: Stellarium

How to Have All the Prior Knowledge to Observe the Zodiacal Light?

The ethereal zodiacal light, a celestial phenomenon appearing in the western sky, has returned for the month. This ghostly glow emerges after sundown from February 6th to 20th. It is visible around 90 minutes after sunset and lasts about an hour and a half. To witness and photograph this spectacle, find a dark, light-pollution-free spot in the west-southwest direction. Look for a Milky Way-like luminosity above the western horizon with a tapering form reaching at least 45° elevation.

The zodiacal light originates from sunlight reflecting off comet and asteroid dust concentrated in the plane of the Solar System. It takes the shape of a diffuse cone or wedge, brightest near the horizon and fading as it extends higher. Venus and Mars adorn the base of this light cone. It is in the center on the ecliptic side that runs through Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries constellations.

To capture this celestial marvel with your digital camera, use a wide-angle lens and tripod. Switch your camera to manual mode, set the lens aperture wide open (f/2.8 or lower), and focus manually at infinity. Set your ISO to 1600 or 3200, and use exposures of up to 30 seconds. With modern DSLRs, even ISO 6400 can yield noise-free images. This extraordinary event culminates on February 20th. With the thin crescent Moon joining Venus and Mars in close conjunction for a captivating photo opportunity.

Back of a Canon 5D
Back of a Canon 5D Mark III showing a live view of the gibbous moon. To set up and focus, I first aimed at the Moon and depressed the live view button, then I pressed the 5x magnify button.
Bob King

What Observations has been Made Related to Zodiacal Light?

Over the past few years, various spacecraft observations have unveiled notable patterns within the zodiacal light. These include arrangements like dust bands. They are with remaining from specific asteroid groups, as well as several trails left by comets.

EL Gordo is a galaxy cluster, and its phenomenal view has been captured recently by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. But one thing that is quite surprising you will find that this galaxy is locate more than 7 billion light-years away.

That is why it is surely an intriguing point for many of you. You will be amazed by the presence of two gravitational arcs in the image. And besides this, the most striking element in the picture is a vibrant red arc at the upper right. It is named “El Anzuelo” (The Fishhook).

And one thing that is noteworthy here is that the light from this arc has traveled for a 10.6 billion years before reaching Earth!

What is the Real Meaning of El Gordo?

El Gordo is a cluster that comprises hundreds of galaxies. They came into existence when the universe was approximately 6.2 billion years old. And that obviously making it a “cosmic teenager.” Apart from other interesting things, one thing is the EL Gordo had the title of the most giant cluster which we know. And if you want to know its originality, then it come from Spanish which means “The Fat One.”

Why the Astronomers Studied El Gordo? Gravitational Lensing Phenomenon!

If you are wondering why the scientists, and the research team chose to study El Gordo. Then it was due to its role as a natural cosmic magnifying glass. And it was achieved through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. This process occurs when a cluster’s potent gravity bends and distorts the light of objects located behind it. This also resembles  the effect of an eyeglass lens.

This phenomenon, gravitational lensing, effectively boosts the brightness and magnifies the sizes of distant galaxies, granting astronomers a unique and valuable opportunity to study the far reaches of the universe in greater detail.

Team Pearls & Their Contribution in El Gordo:

Therefore, through the gravitational lensing by El Gordo, the brightness of galaxies that are far were boosted, and their sizes are magnified! This impressive lensing effect offers a special window into the far reaches of the universe. And allows researchers like Brenda Frye from the University of Arizona, co-leading the PEARLS-Clusters branch of the Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science (PEARLS) team. They conduct their observations and analysis on El Gordo.

What is El Anzuelo? Let’s Have Some Meaningful Insights

If we look deeper into the details of El Gordo, then we will find the one of the most notable elements. That is a vibrant red arc situated at the upper right. We call it as “El Anzuelo”, and its meaning is The Fishhook!

It is named by one of Brenda Frye’s students. Henceforth, the light emitted by this galaxy traveled a 10.6 billion years before reaching Earth. The distinctive red color results from a combination of reddening by dust within the galaxy itself. And not just galaxy but cosmological redshift too. All happened due to its immense distance.

The Phenomenon of “QUENCHING”!

The research team successfully determined that the background galaxy possesses a disk-like shape. They did it through careful corrections for the lensing distortions. And not only this, but with a diameter of approximately 26,000 light-years too. Which is roughly one-fourth the size of our own Milky Way.

Furthermore, their investigations into the galaxy’s star formation history also revealed a fascinating finding, which is none other than the process of quenching. And in this process the star formation rapidly declines, and they was already on the way, and in the center of the galaxy.

Let’s Know the Word of Patrick Kamieneski too!

Patrick Kamieneski from Arizona State University, the lead author of a second paper said:

“We skillfully unraveled the dust veil enveloping the galaxy’s center, where active star formation occurs. Now, with the capabilities of Webb, we can effortlessly peer through this dense curtain of dust. And it will be providing us with an unprecedented opportunity to witness the inner workings of galaxy assembly.”

El Gordo Galaxy
Two of the most prominent features in the image include the Thin One, highlighted in box A, and the Fishhook, a red swoosh highlighted in box B. Both are lensed background galaxies. The insets at right show zoomed-in views of both objects. Image: NASA, ESA, CSA. Science: Jose Diego (Instituto de Física de Cantabria), Brenda Frye (University of Arizona), Patrick Kamieneski (Arizona State University), Tim Carleton (Arizona State University), and Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State University). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Jake Summers (Arizona State University), Jordan D’Silva (University of Western Australia), Anton Koekemoer (STScI), Aaron Robotham (University of Western Australia), and Rogier Windhorst (Arizona State University).

What is the Reason Behind the Striking Red Color of El Anzuelo?

El Anzuelo’s striking red color come up from a combination of two factors:

  • The reddening effect caused by dust within the galaxy itself.
  • The cosmological redshift from its incredible distance.

And, the second prominent feature within the image is the pencil-thin gravitational arc, and the scientists gave a nickname it too. “La Flaca” (the Thin One).

This arc belongs to another lensed background galaxy, and its light also took nearly 11 billion years to reach Earth.

Who Lead the Keen Analysis of El Gordo?

PEARLS-Clusters branch, a part of the PEARLS team made their observations in this discovery. The images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) not only hold scientific significance. But they also let us in an awe with their breathtaking beauty. As they show the remarkable power of gravitational lensing, that is why it double up the beauty.

Moreover, his ability to tackle the gravitational lensing also fulfills the vision given by Albert Einstein over a century ago. It also opens up new possibilities for unraveling the secrets of the universe.

How The Theory of Relativity is Corelated with El Gordo Cluster?

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity come more than 100 years ago. And it predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. In the case of the El Gordo cluster, we witness this phenomenon come into visuals. The JWST’s remarkable infrared capabilities also allow it to penetrate through dust veils. Which furthermore making it more unique.

The concept of gravitational lensing by Einstein’s theory give us a vision of space and time. It tells us that they are  interconnected and malleable just like a skin to a tangible fabric. This 4D “fabric” can warp and ripple based on the presence of masses within it.

The JWST’s ability to observe and analyze gravitational lensing holds great significance in advancing our understanding of the cosmos.

Why the Distant Galaxies Appeared More Younger than the Nearest Galaxies?

As we are talking about El Gordo which is a very distant galaxy, so let’s find more insights about distant galaxies. Besides the objects captured in the Webb image, there are many intriguing elements. Through they might be less prominent.

For instance, Brenda Frye and her team, consisting of nine students ranging from high school to graduate level. They made a fascinating discovery. They identified five multiply lensed galaxies that seem to be part of a baby galaxy cluster. That was forming around 12.1 billion years ago. Furthermore, there are about a dozen other candidate galaxies that could also be part of this distant cluster.

The research team examined whether the properties of these galaxies differed from the ultra-diffuse galaxies or not. And they did find dissimilarities. The galaxies in the distant cluster appeared bluer, younger, more extended. And they displayed a more even distribution throughout the cluster.

These findings suggest that living in the cluster environment for the past 6 billion years has influenced the evolution and characteristics of these galaxies.

Ending Note on Timothy Carleton’s Words:

Timothy Carleton who is link with Arizona State University shares:

“We explored whether these galaxies exhibit any differences compared to the ultra-diffuse galaxies we typically observe in our local universe, and indeed, we found some intriguing variations. Specifically, they appeared bluer, indicating younger stars. And they displayed a more extended and evenly distributed pattern within the cluster. These observations strongly suggest that the cluster environment has played a substantial role in shaping the properties of these galaxies over the course of the last 6 billion years.”

Now, what do you think how are distant galaxies like El Gordo differ from the nearest one? What could be the potential manners of their difference?