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Professor Astronomy

Planets everywhere

2 Feb 2011, 19:52 UTC
Planets everywhere
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Image Credit: NASA/Wendy Stenzel

Today, NASA and the Kepler Mission team announced the most up-to-date results of the Kepler mission's search for planets around other stars. Today's haul was nothing short of astounding (though, dare I say, mostly expected): 1235 candidates, 68 of which are Earth-sized. 54 planet candidates (not necessarily the same ones that are Earth-sized) are the right distance from their parent star that they could have liquid water. 170 of these 1200 candidates also show some evidence of being in multiple-planet systems, and one has at least six planets!

Originally, I was going to miss the press conference, because I am supposed to be teaching a class at that time. Then our classes were canceled due to an ice storm, so I intended to watch the press conference. However, I was unable to watch the press conference when my apartment was hit by the 5th in an ongoing series of rolling blackouts to hit the Dallas area. So, I have to pick up the highlights from the web.

NASA's Kepler Mission's main goal is to find Earth-sized planets in Earth-like orbits around sun-like stars. Kepler works by watching for planets whose orbits carry them directly between their ...

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