Thursday, 13 December, 2018

These were the voyages of the Kepler space telescope

NASA image of Kepler Kepler is dead. Now what
Cary Marshall | 05 November, 2018, 15:11

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has made a decision to retire the Kepler which discovered more than 2,600 planets. But it was only in 1995 that astronomers spotted the first planets orbiting sunlike stars outside of our solar system.In the last decade, in particular, the number of planets known to orbit distant stars grew from under 100 to well over 2,000, with another 2,000 likely planets awaiting confirmation.

"Not only did it show us how many planets could be out there, it sparked an entirely new and robust field of research that has taken the science community by storm", Zurbuchen said. By investigating a tiny slice of the sky, Kepler has detected light from many thousands of these stars in its view, and variations in the light received has been an indicator of planets.

Before retiring the spacecraft, scientists pushed Kepler to its full potential, successfully completing multiple observation campaigns and downloading valuable science data even after initial warnings of low fuel.

Kepler may no longer be for this world (or any other world), but the space telescope's discoveries will extend further beyond the end of its mission. At the time, there were no known planets outside of the solar system. Her writings have been published online in The Atlantic, Astronomy magazine's guest blog section, the UK Space Conference, the 2009 IAU General Assembly newspaper, The Space Reporter, and newsletters of various astronomy clubs. Before the mission, our knowledge of planets outside our solar system that orbit a star was woefully lacking.

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"The Kepler mission was based on a very innovative design".

This image was spotted as part of Hubble mission to better understand how new stars are born. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 exoplanet discoveries. The spacecraft is so close to the Sun that one of its faces is probably melting, as we speak. Some of these include rocky planets in their stars' habitable zones, where temperatures allow liquid water to exist on their surfaces. In order to study enough stars to make its measurements, the stars had to be quite distant-just as when you stand in the middle of a forest, there are more trees farther from you than right next to you. The high-powered WFC3 camera has such fantastic resolution that it can locate regions of star formations so NASA scientists can better study them.

Nasa's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel and ended its mission to discover planets around other stars. As for Kepler, it will remain in its orbit for eternity, never coming closer than a million miles to Earth.

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