‘We Are Probably Not Alone’: NASA Finds 10 ‘Earth-Like’ Worlds
Astronomers using the Kepler Space Telescope detected 219 possible new exoplanets in our galaxy, including 10 relatively small, rocky and possibly habitable planets similar to ours, NASA announced on Monday.
These are the latest additions in the exoplanet catalog compiled during the first phase of the Kepler Space Telescope mission when traversing around 200,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus to find worlds beyond our own.
The official catalog now contains 4,044 “candidates” Total – little flips on the data you think point to the presence of a planet around a star. Therefore, 49 installed directly in the “habitable zone” of its stars, this region Goldilocks where liquid water can accumulate on the surface and that life could thrive.
The Kepler Space Telescope was launched into orbit around the Sun in 2009. Its costs: a census of a small portion of the Milky Way, in an effort to understand the “demographics” of our galaxy. Stars that looks like our sun? How many of these hosts planets? How many planets orbiting in the habitable zone? Is there any other place in this vast universe that living things could call home?
During its first four years, Kepler has inspected only 0.025% of the sky. And for any potential detected planet, NASA estimates that between 100 and 200 are out of range of the telescope. Given a little time and some sophisticated models, scientists will use Kepler’s catalog to estimate the number of stars in our galaxy could host a “Earth 2.0”.
Based on the number of habitable planets in the area already identified, Caltech astrophysicist Courtney Dressing, I think the number could be substantial.
“I agree, I’m in ecstasy,” he told a news conference on Monday.
“The key to us is, are we alone?” The scientific program of Kepler Mario Perez has been added. “Kepler now tells us indirectly … that we’re probably not alone.”
This is the eighth update of Kepler’s Planet Catalog and the subsequent study of space telescope data to date.
Of the 4,034 candidates, more than half have already been confirmed as exoplanets and not as miscalculations or false signals. Kepler’s scientific research, Susan Thompson, lead author of the catalog study, said his team was confident of the 10 “terrestrial” planets found in the habitable zones of their stars.
Many of these planets orbit around the dwarf G – the same type of star as our own sun. And, dubbed KOI 7711 (by Kepler object of interest), it is a “twin of the Earth” is possible, a rocky world only 30 times larger than ours and roughly the same distance from its star.
It’s too early to say if KOI 7711 truly deserves the label “Earthlike,” Thompson said. Kepler is unable to determine whether an exoplanet carries an atmosphere or liquid water.
If the aliens seeing our solar system using a similar instrument, one might think that it contained three potentially habitable rocky worlds: Venus, Earth and Mars. “But I just want to live in one of them,” Thompson said.
A second research group has combined Kepler’s data with measurements of ground-based telescopes to calculate the approximate dimensions and compositions of 2000 exoplanets.
They found that the smaller worlds, Kepler was designed to detect, are divided into two distinct groups: rocky planets up to 1.75 times the size of our own, called “super-Earth” and “soft mini-Neptunes”, which Have no solid surface and 2 to 3 times larger than Earth.
Almost all respondents star organized a planet into one of these two categories. But, curiously, no planet straddling the gap. Each world was rocky or smaller and larger and gas.
Benjamin Fulton, an astronomer at Caltech and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, compared to the new animal species categories.