Tagged: NASA Kepler Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 2:45 pm on April 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Double Star, NASA Kepler   

    From physicsworld.com: “First discovery of double star that brightens during eclipse” 

    physicsworld

    Apr 17, 2014
    Ken Croswell

    ds
    White dwarf acts like a magnifying glass

    For the first time, astronomers have seen a double star brighten rather than fade when one star passes in front of its companion. Predicted decades ago, the phenomenon arises from gravitational microlensing as the great surface gravity of a white-dwarf star magnifies its partner’s light. The discovery by US researchers raises the hope that we will someday catch a neutron star or black hole doing the same thing, which would lend new insight into these extreme objects.

    wds
    Image of Sirius A and Sirius B taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Sirius B, which is a white dwarf, can be seen as a faint pinprick of light to the lower left of the much brighter Sirius A.

    Many star systems are double, having two stars that orbit each other. In some cases, the orbit aligns edge-on to our line of sight, so that one star periodically eclipses the other and dims the light that we see. Astronomers have known of these eclipsing binaries for centuries. The best example is Algol – Arabic for “the ghoul” – which medieval astrologers considered to be the most dangerous star in the sky, probably because they knew that its light flickers. In 1782 British astronomer Edward Pigott correctly explained why Algol dims.

    It was not unitl 1973 that Swiss astronomer André Maeder predicted that some binaries should exhibit the opposite phenomenon. According to both Newton’s theory of gravity and Einstein’s general theory of relativity, mass bends light. Therefore, Maeder says, if a small but massive star eclipses its companion, then the small star’s gravity should amplify the other star’s light so much that it overwhelms the eclipse-induced darkening.

    Discovery at last

    Now, four decades later, a pair of astronomers has discovered the first example, 2600 light-years away. “We found it by accident,” says Ethan Kruse, a second-year graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle. “My main research is looking for new planets that other people have missed.”

    In early December 2013 Kruse was examining KOI 3278, a star that NASA’s Kepler spacecraft had found to be fading every 88.18 days. This suggested that a planet circled the star with that periodicity and dimmed the light as it passed in front.

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    NASA/Kepler

    But Kruse noticed a strange feature. “The first thing I thought was that something had gone horribly wrong,” he says. “Instead of finding a new planet, I found what looked to be the same signal as a planet transiting its star except upside down, where the star got brighter instead of dimmer.” Each brightening was subtle, just 0.1%, and lasted five hours. The brightenings repeated every 88.18 days, out of phase with the dimmings.

    In fact, KOI 3278 has no known planet. Instead, it consists of a star like the Sun coupled with a white dwarf, a small dense star. The system dims when the white dwarf passes behind the Sun-like star and brightens when the white dwarf passes in front, magnifying the light of its mate.
    More exotic objects

    “This is a very nice surprise,” says Maeder, who is now 72 years old. “I must say, I more or less forgot about this effect, and as a matter of fact, I did not expect it would be found in my lifetime.”

    Edge-on binaries containing more exotic objects – neutron stars and black holes – should also display periodic brightenings. “That’s what I think is most interesting,” Kruse says. “There are not a lot of people looking for such signals, and they might find them in the Kepler data.” Such systems would yield new information on the masses of neutron stars and black holes.

    “It’s supercool!” says B Scott Gaudi, an astronomer at Ohio State University in Columbus. “It just shows the power of Kepler. You open up parameter space and you’re guaranteed to find really interesting stuff.” Last year, other astronomers reported a Kepler system with a white dwarf, but the gravitational brightening was too small to erase the eclipse.

    Kruse and his university colleague Eric Agol have published their discovery online today in Science.

    See the full article here.

    PhysicsWorld is a publication of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society. We are a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of more than 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

    We engage with policymakers and the general public to develop awareness and understanding of the value of physics and, through IOP Publishing, we are world leaders in professional scientific communications.
    IOP Institute of Physics


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 4:51 pm on January 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler,   

    Kepler from NOVA 

    Great video. Don’t miss it.

    I know that Kepler’s most useful days are gone. but this is a great telling of the story.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:35 pm on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From NASA/Kepler: “NASA Kepler Results Usher in a New Era of Astronomy” 

    NASA Kepler
    Kepler

    Scientists from around the world are gathered this week at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., for the second Kepler Science Conference, where they will discuss the latest findings resulting from the analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data.

    Included in these findings is the discovery of 833 new candidate planets, which will be announced today by the Kepler team. Ten of these candidates are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, which is defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for liquid water.

    At this conference two years ago, the Kepler team announced its first confirmed habitable zone planet, Kepler-22b. Since then, four more habitable zone candidates have been confirmed, including two in a single system.

    New Kepler data analysis and research also show that most stars in our galaxy have at least one planet. This suggests that the majority of stars in the night sky may be home to planetary systems, perhaps some like our solar system.

    chart

    “The impact of the Kepler mission results on exoplanet research and stellar astrophysics is illustrated by the attendance of nearly 400 scientists from 30 different countries at the Kepler Science Conference,” said William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at Ames. “We gather to celebrate and expand our collective success at the opening of a new era of astronomy.”

    See the full article here.

    The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone→ and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.
    The operations phase of the Kepler mission is managed for NASA by the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, managed the mission through development, launch and the start of science operations. Dr. William Borucki of NASA Ames is the mission’s Science Principal Investigator. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO, developed the Kepler flight system.

    In October 2009, oversight of the Kepler project was transferred from the Discovery Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, to the Exoplanet Exploration Program at JPL

    NASA

    NASA JPL Icon


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 9:30 am on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From NASA/Kepler: “Scientists Discover the First Earth-Sized Rocky Planet” 

    NASA Kepler
    Kepler

    Astronomers have discovered the first Earth-sized planet outside the solar system that has a rocky composition like that of Earth. Kepler-78b whizzes around its host star every 8.5 hours, making it a blazing inferno and not suitable for life as we know it. The results are published in two papers in the journal Nature.

    kep

    “The news arrived in grand style with the message: ‘Kepler-10b has a baby brother,’” said Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. Batalha led the team that discovered Kepler-10b, a larger but also rocky planet identified by the Kepler spacecraft.

    “The message expresses the joy of knowing that Kepler’s family of exoplanets is growing,” Batalha reflects. “It also speaks of progress. The Doppler teams are attaining higher precision, measuring masses of smaller planets at each turn. This bodes well for the broader goal of one day finding evidence of life beyond Earth.”

    Kepler-78b was discovered using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which for four years simultaneously and continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars looking for telltale dips in their brightness caused by crossing, or transiting, planets.

    Two independent research teams then used ground-based telescopes to confirm and characterize Kepler-78b. To determine the planet’s mass, the teams employed the radial velocity method to measure how much the gravitation tug of an orbiting planet causes its star to wobble. Kepler, on the other hand, determines the size or radius of a planet by the amount of starlight blocked when it passes in front of its host star.

    A handful of planets the size or mass of Earth have been discovered. Kepler-78b is the first to have both a measured mass and size. With both quantities known, scientists can calculate a density and determine what the planet is made of.

    See the full article here.

    The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone→ and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.
    The operations phase of the Kepler mission is managed for NASA by the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, managed the mission through development, launch and the start of science operations. Dr. William Borucki of NASA Ames is the mission’s Science Principal Investigator. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Boulder, CO, developed the Kepler flight system.

    In October 2009, oversight of the Kepler project was transferred from the Discovery Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, to the Exoplanet Exploration Program at JPL

    NASA

    NASA JPL Icon


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 7:47 am on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler,   

    From NASA/JPL at Caltech: “NASA Space Telescopes Find Patchy Clouds on Exotic World” 

    Sept 30, 2013
    Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    whitney.clavin@jpl.nasa.gov

    Michele Johnson 650-604-6982
    Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
    michele.johnson@nasa.gov

    Steve Cole 202-358-0918
    NASA Headquarters, Washington
    stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

    planets
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

    Astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes have created the first cloud map of a planet beyond our solar system, a sizzling, Jupiter-like world known as Kepler-7b.

    The planet is marked by high clouds in the west and clear skies in the east. Previous studies from Spitzer have resulted in temperature maps of planets orbiting other stars, but this is the first look at cloud structures on a distant world.

    “By observing this planet with Spitzer and Kepler for more than three years, we were able to produce a very low-resolution ‘map’ of this giant, gaseous planet,” said Brice-Olivier Demory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Demory is lead author of a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We wouldn’t expect to see oceans or continents on this type of world, but we detected a clear, reflective signature that we interpreted as clouds.”

    Kepler has discovered more than 150 exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, and Kepler-7b was one of the first. The telescope’s problematic reaction wheels prevent it from hunting planets any more, but astronomers continue to pore over almost four years’ worth of collected data.

    Kepler’s visible-light observations of Kepler-7b’s moon-like phases led to a rough map of the planet that showed a bright spot on its western hemisphere. But these data were not enough on their own to decipher whether the bright spot was coming from clouds or heat. The Spitzer Space Telescope played a crucial role in answering this question.

    See the full article here.

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge [1], on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    Caltech Logo
    jpl


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
    • jaksichja 1:07 pm on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing the post–I will come back to retrieve the article.

      Like this

    • richardmitnick 1:32 pm on October 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Glad you liked it. It looks, though, like the graphic of two planets got corrupted. So, you will see them in the article. Thanks for your support.

      Like this

  • richardmitnick 7:03 pm on August 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From NASA Science: “The Strange Attraction of Hot Jupiters” 

    NASA Science Science News

    August 17, 2013
    Credits: Author: Dr. Tony Phillips |Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips

    When the Space Age began, astronomers knew of exactly zero planets outside the solar system. What a difference 50 years makes.

    Modern, ground-based telescopes and NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have now confirmed more than 850 exoplanets, while thousands more await confirmation. The pace of discovery suggests ‘there are at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy, says John Johnson of Caltech, who works with data from the Kepler mission. ‘That’s mind-boggling.’

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    Kepler

    When the hunt for exoplanets began, the focus was on Earth-like worlds, planets like our own that might support alien life in distant solar systems. Yet planets as small as Earth are difficult to detect when they circle stars hundreds of light years away. Indeed, only a handful have been found so far.

    The real haul has been in gas giants, especially ‘hot Jupiters.’ These are behemoth worlds that orbit close to their parent stars, blocking a fraction of the star’s light when it transits in front. Observations of hot Jupiter ‘mini-eclipses’ have yielded hundreds of discoveries.

    At first considered to be the “chaff” researchers would have to wade through to get to the fainter Earth-like worlds, hot Jupiters are now attracting their own attention.

    See the full article here.

    NASA leads the nation on a great journey of discovery, seeking new knowledge and understanding of our planet Earth, our Sun and solar system, and the universe out to its farthest reaches and back to its earliest moments of existence. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the nation’s science community use space observatories to conduct scientific studies of the Earth from space to visit and return samples from other bodies in the solar system, and to peer out into our Galaxy and beyond. NASA’s science program seeks answers to profound questions that touch us all:

    This is NASA’s science vision: using the vantage point of space to achieve with the science community and our partners a deep scientific understanding of our planet, other planets and solar system bodies, the interplanetary environment, the Sun and its effects on the solar system, and the universe beyond. In so doing, we lay the intellectual foundation for the robotic and human expeditions of the future while meeting today’s needs for scientific information to address national concerns, such as climate change and space weather. At every step we share the journey of scientific exploration with the public and partner with others to substantially improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education nationwide.

    NASA


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 2:06 pm on April 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler,   

    From NASA Kepler: “NASA’s Kepler Discovers its Smallest ‘Habitable Zone’ Planets to Date 

    NASA Kepler Banner

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    Kepler Spacecraft

    04.18.2013

    NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered two new planetary systems that include three super-Earth-size planets in the “habitable zone,” the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water.

    planets
    Relative sizes of Kepler habitable zone planets discovered as of 2013 April 18.
    Left to right: Kepler-22b, Kepler-69c, Kepler-62e, Kepler-62f, and Earth (except for Earth, these are artists’ renditions). Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech.

    The Kepler-62 system has five planets; 62b, 62c, 62d, 62e and 62f. The Kepler-69 system has two planets; 69b and 69c. Kepler-62e, 62f and 69c are the super-Earth-sized planets.

    Two of the newly discovered planets orbit a star smaller and cooler than the sun. Kepler-62f is only 40 percent larger than Earth, making it the exoplanet closest to the size of our planet known in the habitable zone of another star. Kepler-62f is likely to have a rocky composition. Kepler-62e, orbits on the inner edge of the habitable zone and is roughly 60 percent larger than Earth.

    The third planet, Kepler-69c, is 70 percent larger than the size of Earth, and orbits in the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. Astronomers are uncertain about the composition of Kepler-69c, but its orbit of 242 days around a sun-like star resembles that of our neighboring planet Venus.

    Scientists do not know whether life could exist on the newfound planets, but their discovery signals we are another step closer to finding a world similar to Earth around a star like our sun.”

    See the full article here.

    The Kepler Mission, NASA Discovery mission #10, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone→ and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.Kepler is part of NASA’s Discovery Program of relatively low-cost, focused primary science missions. The telescope’s construction and initial operation were managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with Ball Aerospace responsible for developing the Kepler flight system. The Ames Research Center is responsible for the ground system development, mission operations since December 2009, and science data analysis. The initial planned lifetime was 3.5 years, but in 2012 this was extended to 2016.

    NASA


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on April 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From JPL at Caltech: “Gravity-Bending Find Leads to Kepler Meeting Einstein” 

    April 04, 2013
    Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
    whitney.clavin@jpl.nasa.gov

    NASA’s Kepler space telescope has witnessed the effects of a dead star bending the light of its companion star. The findings are among the first detections of this phenomenon — a result of Einstein’s general theory of relativity — in binary, or double, star systems.

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    Kepler

    wd
    This artist’s concept depicts a dense, dead star called a white dwarf crossing in front of a small, red star. The white dwarf’s gravity is so great it bends and magnifies light from the red star. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    The dead star, called a white dwarf, is the burnt-out core of what used to be a star like our sun. It is locked in an orbiting dance with its partner, a small red dwarf star. While the tiny white dwarf is physically smaller than the red dwarf, it is more massive.

    ‘This white dwarf is about the size of Earth but has the mass of the sun,’ said Phil Muirhead of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, lead author of the findings to be published April 20 in the Astrophysical Journal. ‘It’s so hefty that the red dwarf, though larger in physical size, is circling around the white dwarf.’

    Kepler’s primary job is to scan stars in search of orbiting planets. As the planets pass by, they block the starlight by miniscule amounts, which Kepler’s sensitive detectors can see.

    ‘The technique is equivalent to spotting a flea on a light bulb 3,000 miles away, roughly the distance from Los Angeles to New York City,’ said Avi Shporer, co-author of the study, also of Caltech.

    Muirhead and his colleagues regularly use public Kepler data to search for and confirm planets around smaller stars, the red dwarfs, also known as M dwarfs. These stars are cooler and redder than our yellow sun. When the team first looked at the Kepler data for a target called KOI-256, they thought they were looking at a huge gas giant planet eclipsing the red dwarf.

    ‘We saw what appeared to be huge dips in the light from the star, and suspected it was from a giant planet, roughly the size of Jupiter, passing in front,’ said Muirhead.

    To learn more about the star system, Muirhead and his colleagues turned to the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego. Using a technique called radial velocity, they discovered that the red dwarf was wobbling around like a spinning top. The wobble was far too big to be caused by the tug of a planet. That is when they knew they were looking at a massive white dwarf passing behind the red dwarf, rather than a gas giant passing in front.

    Hale
    Hale Telescope at Palomar

    The team also incorporated ultraviolet measurements of KOI-256 taken by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), a NASA space telescope now operated by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The GALEX observations, led by Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., are part of an ongoing program to measure ultraviolet activity in all the stars in Kepler field of view, an indicator of potential habitability for planets in the systems. These data revealed the red dwarf is very active, consistent with being “spun-up” by the orbit of the more massive white dwarf.

    NASA Galex telescope
    NASA Galex

    The astronomers then went back to the Kepler data and were surprised by what they saw. When the white dwarf passed in front of its star, its gravity caused the starlight to bend and brighten by measurable effects.

    ‘Only Kepler could detect this tiny, tiny effect,’ said Doug Hudgins, the Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters, Washington. ‘But with this detection, we are witnessing Einstein’s general theory of relativity at play in a far-flung star system.’”

    See the full article here.

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge [1], on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    Caltech Logo

    jpl


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 2:19 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From Keck: “Earth-sized Planets Are Common” 

    Keck Observatory

    Keck Observatory

    Keck Observatory

    January 9, 2013

    “A team of astronomers from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Hawaii at Manoa has found that 17 percent of all sun-like stars have planets one to two times the diameter of Earth in close orbits. The finding, based on an analysis of the first three years of data from NASA’s Kepler mission and the W. W. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, was announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, California this week.

    NASA Kepler
    Kepler

    While other studies had shown that planets around stars are common in our galaxy, until this study, it remained unclear if this is true for Earth-size planets.

    The team consists of UC Berkeley graduate student Erik Petigura, former UC Berkeley postdoctoral fellow Andrew Howard, now on the faculty of the UH Manoa Institute for Astronomy, and UC Berkeley professor Geoff Marcy.

    To find planets, the Kepler space telescope repeatedly images 150,000 stars in a small region of the sky. It looks for a tiny dip in each star’s brightness* that indicates a planet is passing in front of it, much like Venus passed between Earth and the sun last summer.

    ‘We took a census of the planets detected by the Kepler Space Telescope,’ said Howard. ‘Erik Petigura wrote a new pipeline to detect the shallow dimmings* of Earth-size planets in Kepler photometry. With his efficient and well-calibrated pipeline we could confidently report the size distribution of close-in planets down to Earth-size. The result is that Earth-size planets are just a common as planets twice Earth size. Remarkable.’”

    See the full article here.

    *Read: gravitational lensing

    Mission
    To advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world.

    Today Keck Observatory is supported by both public funding sources and private philanthropy. As a 501(c)3, the organization is managed by the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA), whose Board of Directors includes representatives from the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, with liaisons to the board from NASA and the Keck Foundation.
    Keck UCal

    Keck NASA

    Keck Caltech


    ScienceSprings is powered by MAINGEAR computers

     
  • richardmitnick 2:43 pm on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , NASA Kepler   

    From BBC: “Exoplanet Kepler 37b is tiniest yet – smaller than Mercury” 

    BBC News

    20 February 2013
    Jason Palmer

    Astronomers have smashed the record for the smallest planet beyond our Solar System – finding one only slightly larger than our Moon.

    chart

    To spot the tiny, probably rocky planet, they first needed to precisely measure the size of its host star. They did so using astroseismology – effectively, turning tiny variations in the star’s light into sounds. A report in Nature describes the blistering, probably rocky planet, which orbits its star in just 13 days.

    It is joined in this far-flung solar system by two other planets, one three-quarters Earth’s size and one twice as large as Earth. The record for smallest exoplanet is routinely being broken, as astronomers get better and better at finding them.

    The best tool in the planet-hunters’ toolbox is the Kepler space telescope, which stares at a fixed part of the sky, trying to detect the tiny dips in stars’ light that happens when planets pass in front of them: what is called a transit event.

    NASA Kepler Telescope
    NASA Kepler

    In its earliest days, the Kepler team tended to find large planets – Jupiter- and Neptune-sized behemoths. In more recent years, the catalogue of exoplanet has seen an increasing number of so-called super-Earths, up to about twice the radius of our planet. Only recently has something definitively Earth-sized been found. But the new find is a planet just a third the size of that recent record-holder, smaller even than our Solar System’s smallest planet, Mercury.

    ‘I think it’s an amazing technological achievement to be able to be able to detect small rocks like this,’ said Francois Fressin, a co-author of the paper based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.’It means we’re really in the arena where it’s possible to detect all the planets of our Solar System, but around other stars,’ he told BBC News.”

    See the full article here.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 253 other followers

%d bloggers like this: