Thursday, January 7, 2010

kepler finds 5 new exoplanets!

astronomers working with the kepler space telescope made a big announcement during the first full day of the 215th american astronomical meeting: they found 5 new planets orbiting around other stars during the kepler space telescope!! now we know of over 400 exosolar planets!!

you might remember the launch of kepler back in march.... the video was quite exciting i thought. the spacecraft had to travel to its proper orbit, then scientists performed several checks to make sure all the instruments were working properly, then data collection began. my first impressions when hearing the results of 5 new planets was that the number seemed a bit low. but these numbers come from only the first 6 weeks of data, and the team has not had any time yet to follow up the leads with observations from other telescopes. i imagine the kepler team will be announcing loads of new planets over the next few years!

brady quickly made a sixty symbols video about exoplanets and how we discover them, so watch as mike explains the process!

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