Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kepler Mission Treasure Trove

The Kepler mission to detect Earth-sized and larger worlds in the habitable zone of other stars has yielded 1235 candidate planets so far...

image courtesy of http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/

Kepler is looking for planets that reside in the "Goldilocks zone," an orbit the correct distance from its star which should allow liquid water to exist on its surface.  The Kepler spacecraft has been in orbit since 2009.  I had no idea it had met with such success.  Click on the graphic representation of the data collected so far for an impressive display.  Still, the mission calls for each candidate planet to transit its star three times, so we get to wait a while longer...

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