Kepler mission

Kepler’s Universe: More Planets in Our Galaxy Than Stars

by Nancy Atkinson February 19, 2014

Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way contains up to 400 billion stars and thanks to the Kepler mission, we can now estimate that every star in our galaxy has on average 1.6 planets in orbit around it. This new video from our friends Tony Darnell and Scott Lewis focuses on the discoveries that the Kepler […]

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Second Planetary System Like Ours Discovered

by Shannon Hall November 27, 2013

A team of European astronomers has discovered a second planetary system, the closest parallel to our own solar system yet found. It includes seven exoplanets orbiting a star with the small rocky planets close to their host star and the gas giant planets further away. The system was hidden within the wealth of data from […]

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22% of Sun-like Stars have Earth-sized Planets in the Habitable Zone

by Nancy Atkinson November 4, 2013

How common are planets like Earth? That’s been a question astronomers and dreamers have pondered for decades, and now, thanks to the Kepler spacecraft, they have an answer. One in five Sun-like stars in our galaxy have Earth-sized planets that could host life, according to a recent study of Kepler data. “What this means is, […]

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Rocky Earth-sized World is a ‘Sungrazing’ Exoplanet

by Nancy Atkinson October 31, 2013

A newly verified planet found in data from the Kepler mission delivers on the space telescope’s task of finding Earth-size planets around other stars. The new planet, called Kepler-78b, is the first Earth-sized exoplanet discovered that has a rocky composition like that of Earth. Similarities to Earth, however, end there. Kepler-78b whizzes around its host […]

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Kepler Team Has Some Success in Reaction Wheel Recovery Attempt

by Nancy Atkinson July 25, 2013

In May of this year, the Kepler planet-hunting telescope lost its ability to precisely point toward stars, putting its exoplanet search in jeopardy. Two of the four reaction wheels failed, and Kepler scientists say the spacecraft needs at least three reaction wheels to be able to point precisely enough to continue the mission. In the […]

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