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Posts Tagged ‘Kepler Observatory’

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers 461 New Planet Candidates

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment

NASA’s Kepler mission Monday announced the discovery of 461 new planet candidates. Four of the potential new planets are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s “habitable zone,” the region in the planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet.

One of the four newly identified super Earth-size planet candidates, KOI-172.02, orbits in the habitable zone of a star similar to our sun. The possible planet is approximately 1.5 times the radius of Earth and orbits its host star every 242 days. Additional follow-up analysis will be required to confirm the candidate as a planet.

“There is no better way to kickoff the start of the Kepler extended mission than to discover more possible outposts on the frontier of potentially life bearing worlds,” said Christopher Burke, Kepler scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who is leading the analysis.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler-461-new-candidates.html

NASA, Texas Astronomers Find First Multi-Planet System Around A Binary Star

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

NASA’s Kepler mission has found the first multi-planet solar system orbiting a binary star, characterized in large part by University of Texas at Austin astronomers using two telescopes at the university’s McDonald Observatory in West Texas. The finding, which proves that whole planetary systems can form in a disk around a binary star, is published in today’s issue of the journal Science.

The binary star in question is called Kepler-47. The primary star is about the same mass as the Sun, and its companion is an M-dwarf star one-third its size. The inner planet is three times the size of Earth and orbits the binary star every 49.5 days, while the outer planet is 4.6 times the size of Earth with an orbit of 303.2 days.

Full Story: http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/news/releases/2012/0829

Kepler Discovers Planetary System Orbiting Two Suns

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A team of astronomers has found the first transiting circumbinary multi-planet system: two planets orbiting around a pair of stars. This discovery shows that planetary systems can form and survive even in the chaotic environment around a binary star. And that such planets can exist in the habitable zone of their stars. The results are being announced at the XXVIII General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Beijing, China and published in the 30 August 2012 issue of the journal Science.

The system, known as Kepler-47, harbours the smallest known transiting circumbinary planets — planets orbiting a pair of stars — to date. The planets were discovered using NASA’s Kepler space telescope by monitoring the faint drop in brightness produced when both planets transit (eclipse) their host stars.

Full Story: http://www.iau.org/public_press/news/detail/iau1205/

NASA’s Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Orbiting A Pair Of Stars

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Coming less than a year after the announcement of the first circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered multiple transiting planets orbiting two suns for the first time. This system, known as a circumbinary planetary system, is 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

This discovery proves that more than one planet can form and persist in the stressful realm of a binary star and demonstrates the diversity of planetary systems in our galaxy.

“In contrast to a single planet orbiting a single star, the planet in a circumbinary system must transit a ‘moving target.’ As a consequence, time intervals between the transits and their durations can vary substantially, sometimes short, other times long,” said Jerome Orosz, associate professor of astronomy at San Diego State University and lead author of the paper. “The intervals were the telltale sign these planets are in circumbinary orbits.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler-47.html