Archiv für das 'astronomie'-tag
They have found, definitely, 306 new extra-solar planets, including 5 systems with multiple planets. Unlike previous searches, most of the planets that Kepler found are Neptune-sized (the smallest gas giant in our Solar System) or smaller!
That’s very, very promising! But they’ve left us with the ultimate teaser: they are withholding data — for a year — on 400 particularly juicy candidates!
What did they find? Are they Earth-sized planets? Are they planets in the habitable zones around their stars? Are they “just barely” detections, and they want to get some more data?
If we assume that each one is a planet, that brings us to 706 planets around 100,000 stars. Since our galaxy has around 200 billion stars, we can figure out that there ought to be — wait for it — at least 1.4 billion planets in our galaxy!
And that, mind you, is a lower limit, as this only will see planets orbiting edge-on to their stars! But it’s the biggest lower limit we’ve ever been able to set, and you’re among the first to know!
The Mars Express VMC team here at ESOC are delighted to publish today’s special treat: a movie carefully compiled from 600 VMC images snapped during a single, complete 7-hour orbit on 27 May 2010. This video shows what future astronauts would likely see from their cockpit window: Mars turning below them as they sweep in orbit around the Red Planet, our beautiful planetary neighbour!
While we humans carry on with our daily lives down here on Earth, perhaps stuck in traffic or reading blogs, or just enjoying a Springtime stroll, a school-bus-sized spacecraft called Cassini continues to gather data and images for us - 1.4 billion kilometers (870 million miles) away.