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In its first 43 days, Kepler spacecraft has discovered 750 new extrasolar planet candidates

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 02:46 PM
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In its first 43 days, Kepler spacecraft has discovered 750 new extrasolar planet candidates
Edited on Tue Jun-15-10 02:48 PM by Ian David
New Worlds to Explore? Kepler Spacecraft Finds 750 Exoplanet Candidates

The Kepler spacecraft has found over 750 candidates for extrasolar planets, and that is just from data collected in the first 43 days of the spacecraft's observations. "This is the biggest release of candidate planets that has ever happened," said William Borucki, Kepler's lead scientist. "The number of candidate planets is actually greater than all the planets that have been discovered in the last 15 years."

This is an astounding amount of potential exoplanets from data taken during such a short period of time, however Borucki added that they expect only about 50% of these candidates to actually turn out to be planets, as some may be eclipsing binary stars or other artifacts in the data. But still, even half would be the biggest group discovery of exoplanets ever.

And the exciting part is that 706 targets from this first data set have viable exoplanet candidates with sizes from as small as Earth to around the size of Jupiter. The team says the majority have radii less than half that of Jupiter.

The Kepler team has found so many candidates, that they are sharing. They will keep the top 400 candidates to verify and confirm with observations from other telescopes with observations done by Kepler team members. And today they have released the other 350 candidates, including five potential multiple planet systems.



More:
http://www.universetoday.com/2010/06/15/new-worlds-to-e... /





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luxoid Donating Member (55 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 02:52 PM
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1. this is excellent news
Science just can't be beaten - lovely.
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 03:31 PM
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2. Good, any that don't have oil gushers.
We can't go there, but it'd still be nice to know that such worlds exist. ;-)
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localroger Donating Member (663 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 05:08 PM
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3. My god, it's full of worlds $
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. +1
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-15-10 07:42 PM
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4. 750 planets from only looking at a small portion of the sky....imagine if
they had the capability to monitor the entire thing? Of course they're only seeing a small portion of the planets in the small portion of the sky that they're monitoring.
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pokerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. The big news is the percentage
700 hits out of 156,000 stars doesn't sound like much until one remembers that Kepler is only capable of detecting planets that eclipse their parent stars from our point of view which means that something like 99.5% of the systems would be completely undetectable by Kepler. Extrapolating, this data (if it holds up) would indicate that 89.74% (700/780) of stars have planets. Big news, indeed.
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Thor_MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 06:56 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. And in only 43 days.
Edited on Wed Jun-16-10 06:59 AM by Thor_MN
To see Earth from another system, if you were unlucky, it would take a year. If you were very lucky, it would take just over two years to confirm. Hits in just 43 days are going to be skewed towards the close orbiting planets, so most of these are toasty. The next several years should be very interesting.

We should be building a fleet of super space telescopes that can be used in an array to directly image other solar systems.
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-16-10 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. After Kepler's mission is over they'll surely fund the Terrestrial Planet Finder
which will be able to directly image exoplanets. That's when we'll finally get the "tiny blue dot" image of another Earth (and hopefully wake humanity up).
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