Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NASA's Kepler Telescope discovers 5 new planets...!!

"If you're looking for Earthlike planets around other stars — places about the size and temperature of our own planet, where life could in theory be found — it might seem like a letdown to stumble instead on a world bigger than Jupiter, hotter than molten iron and, with a density like that of Styrofoam, the most insubstantial planet ever seen. But when NASA astronomer Bill Borucki stood before a packed audience at this week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington to announce the discovery of Styrofoam World, along with four other huge, hot planets, he didn't seem even slightly disappointed."
"Borucki heads the Kepler Mission, a space-based planet-hunting telescope that went into solar orbit last spring to search for distant worlds like our own. While the first five worlds detected are nothing like Earth, nobody expected them to be. What's important, Borucki declared, was that "these five new exoplanets come from the first six weeks of data." An additional eight months of Kepler observations are already in the can and awaiting analysis, meaning many more planets are undoubtedly lurking on hard drives at the NASA Ames Research Center in California, where Kepler is headquartered. "We're going home to lots of presents still unopened," says Natalie Batalha, a San Jose State University astronomer on the Kepler team."
Read more: Time

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