Kepler-22b: Extraterrestrial Life Discovered!
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Keplerb - Wikipedia
Precious Metal. Market Watch. Pinterest Reddit. By Hari Pulakkat. This week astronomers found a near-Earth-size planet orbiting a sun-like star at an Earth-like distance from its star. But the good news is beyond astronomers discovering just one planet, called Keplerb.
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It is that Kepler, the space telescope launched two years ago, is spotting several hundred potential planets every quarter. Astronomers think they may stumble upon a true earth analogue any time in the next few years. The presence of planets around other stars has been a matter of speculation for centuries. It was only in that astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a star other than the sun. Since then planets outside the solar system, called extrasolar planets, have been found, confirmed and catalogued.
But in just 16 months of operation, the Kepler space telescope has found 2, planet candidates, out of which only about 31 have been confirmed and catalogued as extrasolar planets. The number of candidates has, in fact, nearly doubled in the quarter after February, when scientists last analysed the data. Life Out There?
There is no way we would be able to tell what that life looks like. In the meantime, Russell is busy characterizing materials from our own solar system. She studies the diversity of rocks, using meteorites that originate from different parts of our planetary system. This means Russell can better understand what extra-solar planets may be made of and what their geology is like, and therefore decide if they are likely hosts for life.
The Kepler mission is searching only a portion of our own galaxy, to find out how many of the billions of stars have Earth-size planets in or near habitable zones. With 10 possible candidates found so far, the search for alien life is getting closer. More from Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Big Idea: Detect Alien Life on a Tight Budget
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The star system of the new Earth-like planet Keplerb shown in comparison with our own solar system. Earth and Keplerb are in the habitable zones where temperatures are right for liquid water to exist. Artwork of the Kepler photometer instrument mounted on the Kepler spacecraft. Explore further. Provided by American Museum of Natural History. Citation : Could be the year we find extraterrestrial life? This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. As funding has dried up, the excitement over exoplanets has only grown stronger.
Other recent studies suggest that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains more than billion planets. Tens of billions of those, in turn, could have the right temperature for liquid water.
The bounty of potentially habitable planets has astronomers scrambling for ways to revive the spirit of the Terrestrial Planet Finder, but on a shoestring budget. Low-Hanging Fruit The trick to keeping costs down is focusing on planets around relatively bright, nearby stars—the easiest ones to detect. Swain is principal investigator of the Fast Infrared Exoplanet Spectroscopy Survey Explorer Finesse , a proposed inch space telescope that would probe more than planets around nearby stars to learn about their atmospheres and how they formed. The telescope would examine each star to see how its light changes as a planet passes in front of and behind it.
Alternatively, an MIT-led group of astronomers is developing the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite , or TESS, a spacecraft containing an array of telescopes that would survey the entire sky, looking for exoplanets in the habitable zone around the nearest and brightest stars. TESS would not do spectroscopy itself; that job would be left to observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope or the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope—which will be larger and more powerful than Hubble and have a spectrograph tailored to the study of planetary atmospheres.
Power in Numbers Some astronomers are taking an even more bare-bones approach, skipping the large space missions in favor of networks of smaller scopes to spot nearby exoplanets. It relies on eight identical inch telescopes in Arizona to look for planets around nearby stars that are smaller and cooler than our sun.