New exoplanets discovered

This video from the USA is called NASA’S Kepler Mission Discovers Its First Rocky Planet.

This diagram compares our own Solar System to Kepler-47, a double-star system containing two planets, one orbiting in the habitable zone (NASA / JPL-Caltech / T. Pyle)


Aug 29th, 2012

Two Exoplanets Found Orbiting Binary Star System Kepler-47

An international team of astronomers using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered the first transiting circumbinary multi-planet system.

Just like Luke Skywalker’s home world of Tatooine, these two planets in the system called Kepler-47 enjoy a double sunset as they circle a pair of stars. The team detected the planets by monitoring the faint drop in brightness produced when both planets transit their host stars.

“In contrast to a single planet orbiting a single star, planets whirling around a binary system transit a moving target,” said Dr Jerome Orosz of the San Diego State University, lead author of a study published in Science Express ( version).

“The time intervals between the transits and their duration can vary substantially, from days to hours, and therefore the extremely precise and almost continuous observations with Kepler were fundamental.”

This planetary system is located about 5,000 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation of Cygnus. The pair of stars whirls around each other every 7.5 days. One star is similar to our Sun while the other is a diminutive star only one third the size and 175 times fainter.

The inner planet – Kepler-47b – is only three times larger in diameter than the Earth and orbits the stellar pair every 49 days.

The outer planet – Kepler-47c – is about 4.5 times the size of the Earth, slightly larger than Uranus, and orbits the stars every 303 days. This makes the outer planet the longest-period transiting planet currently known.

More importantly, the outer planet’s orbit places the planet well within what astronomers refer to as the habitable zone – the region around a star within a terrestrial planet that could have liquid water on its surface.

NASA on this: here.

See also here.

Black Holes: Millions Revealed By NASA’s WISE Space Telescope: here.

Hubble goes to the extreme to assemble the deepest ever view of the Universe: here.

8 thoughts on “New exoplanets discovered

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