All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Kepler mission’

Clouds Mapped on Jupiter-Like Exoplanet

Though much of the agency is preparing to shut down, NASA this week announced that astronomers have mapped the clouds of a planet outside our own solar system. Using the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, astronomers have created a cloud map of Kepler-7b, a Jupiter-like planet that orbits around the star Kepler-7. Though Kepler-7b has less than half the mass …

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Kepler Space Telescope Broken, NASA Gives Up on Restoration

Sometimes the best physicists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world can’t save a failing satellite. NASA announced today that it has given up attempts to restore the malfunctioning Kepler Space Telescope. One of the Kepler’s four reaction wheels failed back in July 2012, and a second went out this past May. Since that time NASA researchers have been attempting to …

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Earth-Sized Planets May be Close by, Shows Study

Astronomers this week published a new study that estimates six percent of red dwarf stars may have Earth-sized planets orbiting within their “habitable zone” – the area around a star in which liquid water can exist on the surface of an orbiting body. Since many stars close to our solar system are red dwarfs, astronomers say an Earth-like planet could …

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461 New Planet Candidates Discovered by NASA’s Kepler, Including Four Earth-Like Ones

Astronomers last week announced that they estimate there to be 100 billion planets throughout the Milky Way Galaxy. This week, Astronomers announced 461 new candidates for extra-solar planets have been discovered. NASA‘s Kepler mission has been discovering exoplanets for years now, and the number of confirmed exoplanets is currently 105. As astronomers dig more deeply into Kepler data, smaller planet …

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100 Billion Planets Populate the Milky Way Galaxy, Say Astronomers

For years now, NASA‘s Kepler mission has been confirming the existence of planets outside our solar system. Now, a new review of Kepler data suggests that there are billions upon billions of planets just in the Milky Way galaxy. “There are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy,” said John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy …

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NASA’s Kepler Telescope Ends Its Prime Mission, Begins Another

NASA this week marked the end of the Kepler Space Telescope’s prime mission, which began in March 2009. Like other NASA equipment, the telescope is now beginning another, extended mission NASA says could last as long as four years. Kepler’s prime mission was to determine what fraction of stars might have Earth-like planets in their orbit. So far, the telescope …

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Four-Star Planet Discovered by Planet Hunter Volunteers

Volunteers for the Planet Hunter project have discovered a planet that is part of a four-star system. The planet, named PH1, orbits a pair of stars that is itself orbited by a more distant pair of stars. The Planet Hunter project is a citizen science project that collaborates with Yale University and other organizations to cull through the light curves …

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Tatooine-Like Planet Discovered by NASA’s Kepler

As technology and measurements have improved, astronomers have begun finding extra-solar planets at a breakneck pace. It was only last year that the first planet orbiting a binary star system was discovered. Today, NASA has announced that it has discovered a planet orbiting a binary star system that is also within the habitable zone of the system. The planet, named …

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NASA to Extend Kepler Mission to 2016?

The Kepler mission may be extended for another two years after a report from NASA’s senior review board. The spacecraft was named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler and was launched in March 2009. It was supposed to return around September of 2012. The purpose of the mission is to survey portions of the Milky Way galaxy …

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