Posts tagged kepler
When it comes to forming planets, Mother Nature isn’t very picky. Despite horrific conditions inside densely packed open clusters, stars apparently have no problem forming and hanging on to an orbital brood. That’s the conclusion from a new study that used data collected by NASA’s now-dormant Kepler space telescope to hunt for planets in a one-billion-year old open cluster called NGC 6811, a collection of about 70 stars located about 3,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. Read more.
Two Earth-sized planets have been discovered orbiting Kepler-62, a star approximately 1,200 light-years away, inside its habitable zone. Which, quite frankly, is bonkers.
“We’re particularly delighted to find that there are two planets in the habitable zone.” — lead Kepler scientist William Borucki
"Nevertheless, statistically that would mean six percent of all red dwarf stars should have a Earth-sized planet, Dressing said, adding that since 75 percent of the closest stars are red dwarfs, the nearest Earth-like world may be just 13 light-years away."
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) conference is in full swing in Long Beach, Calif., and this morning’s sessions can be summarized as follows: There’s more exoplanets than you can shake an exostick at.
Earth-Sized Alien Worlds Orbit One in Six Stars: About 17 percent — one in six — of Kepler’s target stars have Earth-sized worlds orbiting closer to their parent stars than where Mercury orbits the sun.
The number of known multi-planetary star systems has just tripled. What’s more, the Kepler space telescope science team has just announced that they have doubled the number of confirmed exoplanetary sightings made by the observatory.
"Prior to the Kepler mission, we knew of perhaps 500 exoplanets across the whole sky," said Doug Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. "Now, in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist, Kepler has discovered more than 60 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates. This tells us that our galaxy is positively loaded with planets of all sizes and orbits."