Kepler telescope

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After Scare, Kepler Spacecraft Back in Business

More planet-hunting awaits

(Newser) - To astronomers' relief, NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has won another reprieve. The spacecraft—responsible for detecting thousands of planets beyond our solar system— slipped into emergency mode last week nearly 75 million miles from Earth, reports the AP . Ground controllers managed to stabilize the probe Sunday, and NASA announced... More »

'Alien Megastructure' May Be Comet Family

But it's still a very strange star, astronomers say

(Newser) - KIC 8462852 is an odd and fascinating star, astronomers say—but it probably isn't host to an "alien megastructure," as some researchers suggested as a longshot possibility when the star and its highly unusual dimming pattern first came to attention. Instead, Iowa State University researchers who studied... More »

Unusual Star Raises Talk of Alien 'Megastructures'

SETI may take a closer look

(Newser) - Something very weird has been spotted in space, and a quote from an astronomer at Penn State gets to the heart of why it's so intriguing: "Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to... More »

NASA Finds Earth's 'Older Cousin'

Kepler-452b has NASA scientists excited

(Newser) - Kepler-438b , move over for Kepler-452b. The latter is the name of a planet newly discovered by the Kepler space telescope that is now the most Earth-like one NASA has found so far, reports the BBC . It's about one and a half times the size of Earth , and orbits... More »

Most Ancient Solar System Is Found

It's a miniature version of our own solar system's inner planets

(Newser) - Just how ancient is a newly discovered solar system? "By the time the Earth formed, the planets in this system were already older than our planet is today," University of Birmingham researcher Tiago Campante tells the BBC . The solar system—a star named Kepler-444 that's orbited by... More »

Newly Spotted Planet Is Most Earth-Like Yet

Kepler-438b just one of several exciting finds

(Newser) - If you're sick of Earth and have a spacecraft capable of traveling hundreds of light-years, astronomers have spotted the most promising destination yet. Kepler-438b is a newly-confirmed potential "Earth twin" detected by the Kepler Space Telescope, the BBC reports, one of eight confirmed new exoplanets. The planet, about... More »

Astronomers Find Earth's 'Cousin'

Kepler-186f is called the best bet yet to hold alien life

(Newser) - Other "Earth-like" planets have been discovered before, but a new one is generating a lot of excitement in astronomy circles because of how very Earth-like it actually is. Introducing Kepler-186f, which is maybe 10% bigger than our planet and thought to be in the not-too-hot and not-too-cold range that... More »

NASA Hits 715-Planet 'Jackpot'

Kepler data massively boosts number of known worlds

(Newser) - NASA says it has almost doubled the number of planets known to humanity with a "bonanza" uncovered by its planet-hunting Kepler telescope. The 715 new planets orbit 305 stars in multi-planet systems like our own, and 94% of them are smaller than Neptune. NASA says it has found... More »

Earth-like Planet Discovered, but It's Hotter Than...

...Hell, at less than a million miles from its sun

(Newser) - Astronomers have discovered a planet where a certain red guy with horns could make himself right at home. It's a planet much like our own Earth—about the same size, with the same mixture of rock and iron, and it orbits a star like our sun—except that Kepler... More »

Kepler Telescope Can't Be Fixed

But NASA's planet-hunter may be repurposed

(Newser) - Sorry space fans, but NASA has come up with no miracles to save its beloved Kepler telescope , reports National Geographic . At least in its current iteration. Engineers discovered in May that another of the telescope's gyroscopic wheels had gone on the fritz, meaning it could no longer remain steady... More »

Planet-Hunting Kepler Craft Has Big Setback

Malfunction threatens ability to look for Earth-like bodies

(Newser) - It seems like NASA is announcing the discovery of a new Earth-like planet every few weeks—like so , and so , and so —but those days might be over for a long while. Not that there aren't more discoveries to make, it's just that the spacecraft responsible for... More »

Kepler Finds Most Earth-Like Planet Yet

Introducing Kepler 62f, about 1.2K light years away

(Newser) - The Kepler telescope is certainly earning its keep. It has found even more Earth-like planets, NASA announced today, and one is being described as the most Earth-like yet. The news of Kepler-62f comes as part of the discovery of three exoplanets that could possibly support life, explains Space.com . Kepler-62f... More »

Earth-Like Planet Spotted

KOI 172.02 orbits star like our sun

(Newser) - Less than two weeks after astronomers predicted they would find an Earth-like planet some time in 2013, the feat may have already been accomplished. Scientists this week announced at the 221st meeting of American Astronomical Society that the Kepler telescope has found a "super-Earth" whose radius is 1.5... More »

Milky Way Has 17B Planets the Size of Ours

And that's a conservative estimate

(Newser) - Before we start feeling too special about our home planet, scientists have a message: There are at least 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the Milky Way alone, Space.com reports. About 17% of our galaxy's stars have Earth-size exoplanets closely orbiting them—so 100 billion stars... More »

Prediction: We'll Discover 1st 'Earth Twin' in 2013

With 50B planets in Milky Way, astronomers think big discovery looms

(Newser) - With more than 800 exoplanets identified since 1995, many astronomers are predicting that 2013 will be the year that the first truly Earth-like planet is spotted, reports Space . Scientists have gotten ever closer to finding an alien Earth in recent years, identifying several in the right temperature range and others... More »

'Tatooine-Like' Planet Found With 4 Suns

Astronomers discover world about 5K light-years away

(Newser) - Luke Skywalker would not consider this a big deal, but some of us earthlings are getting excited. Astronomers have discovered a Tatooine-like planet that orbits two suns and is also orbited by two other stars, Space.com reports. Called PH1, the gas giant is about six times bigger than Earth... More »

Oddly Close Alien Planets Witness Huge 'Planetrise'

Kepler Space Telescope spots them 1,200 light-years away

(Newser) - Two far-flung planets are orbiting the same star so closely that they can appear to each other as giant, colorful moons, Space.com reports. Spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope, a craggy "super-Earth" and a gaseous, Neptune-size world are 1,200 light-years away, but just 1.2 million miles... More »

Scientists Turn Star Data Into Reggae

Reggae-rock group Echo Movement composes astral melody

(Newser) - What do stars in outer space sound like? Try listening to the 6-second melody (note: that's a .wav file) that will be used on a track due this fall by the reggae-rock group Echo Movement. The band wanted to create its own space jam, so it asked researchers at... More »

Scientists Find 11 New Planetary Systems

Triples number of known multiplanetary star systems

(Newser) - The Kepler space telescope has discovered a whopping 11 new planetary systems that are home to 26 planets—thus tripling the number of stars that have more than one planet that passes in front of them and doubling the number of exoplanets confirmed by the Kepler mission. "Prior to... More »

SETI Reveals 1st Signals in Hunt for Alien Life

But radio signals were generated by human-launched satellites

(Newser) - Good news for ET lovers: We've spotted radio signals from outer space matching what we expect to hear from extraterrestrials. Only problem: The signals were generated by our own satellites orbiting Earth. "Even though these signals are interference ... [the finding provides] a good indication that the first steps... More »

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