NASA announced the extension of the research mission of Kepler for four more years


17/04/2012

Astrophysics Scientists have long been in search of extrasolar planets that are outside of our solar system, and there are changes in recent years, using the spectrographic method. Such a method consists of observing the star’s brightness fluctuations at the time of the passage of the planet in front of her drive and occlusions of the natural radiation spectrum. The continuous search may someday turn into the opening of a small rocky world, located within the habitable region of the star where liquid water, and therefore can be detected, and the life.

The first tool in this study was a spacecraft NASA - Kepler, which records the region of space from the constellation Vega and Deneb to continuously monitor the brightness of about 150,000 stars. Now the Kepler mission for three years, its original completion date was set for the end of this year, but that time the mission was extended until 2016.

Extending the mission is good news for the vast army of civilian scientists, Kepler’s scanning data to the signal dips in the star’s brightness, which may indicate or confirm the existence of a new planet - one that could be missed by automated algorithms Kepler. Now anyone can join the company by subscribing to his site planethunters.org as already done by many thousands of others. This was made possible thanks to the launch of a series of programs called BBCpod Stargazing Live (Astronomy live), in January this year.

A rich imagination imaginative dreamer shows close view Kepler-16b, the first planet in orbit two stars. On detection of Kepler-16b was announced in September last year and it is the informal name of Tatooine - the name is taken from the name of a planet orbiting two suns in the film Star Wars. Although the orbit of "Tatooine" is located on the edge, affordable, habitable area of the star system, it is the size of the planet Saturn, and mostly gaseous, can be a good candidate for the maintenance of life.

Kepler finds other, more promising of the planet, including Kepler-22b is the so-called super-Earth (with a diameter of 2.4-fold greater than that of the Earth) and is located in the habitable zone of comfort. Some believe that Kepler-22b is a planet of oceans, but confirmation of this can be difficult even when using the James Webb Space Telescope or the next generation of giant ground-based telescopes.

Extending Kepler mission greatly increases the chances of finding Earth-like planets. To make sure that there is such a planet, Kepler should detect at least three regularly occurring, the failure of the spectral brightness of the star. In the case of planets similar to Earth, with an orbit of one year, will take at least two to three years, which would create three such light failure.

The number of confirmed exoplanets, a week ago, was - 763, of which only 61 were found by Kepler. Nevertheless, Kepler has more than 2300 planetary candidates awaiting confirmation and possibly 9% of this number may be similar in size to the earth, and the other will be larger. Estimates based on the results of the Kepler suggested that only our galaxy contains at least 50 billion planets, and about 500 million of them are located in the habitable zone of their stars.

According to the materials Gizmag com


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