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The First Five Worlds of Kepler

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The first five worlds of Kepler. Written and narrated by Tony Darnell. Animations NASA/Kpler science team. Dedicated to the search for life in the Universe. ♪ ♫ ♪ On January 4th 2009 the Kepler science team announced the discovery of its first 5 exoplanets. These are planets that orbit other starts outside of our solar system. So far, as of January 5th, 2010, there have been a total of 417 extra exoplanets discovered. Almost all of them found by ground based observatories. The Kepler space craft is designed to look for small earth like planets that lie within what is known as the habitable zone. This is the distance from a star that will allow for the presence of liquid water. Kepler is looking over one hundred thousand stars in one region of sky all at once, but with the goal of finding planets with the potential of harboring life. Throughout its mission it will be looking at the area of sky in the constellation Cygnus that allows measuring many stars at one time. By staring at the same spot in the sky for a long time detailed measurements can be collected of all stars in the region and a record kept in their brightness in any variations that exist over time. While these first 5 planets discovered by Kepler are larger Jupiter size worlds this discovery affirms that the systems on Kepler are working well and the science team will meet its goals. The first 5 worlds discovered by Kepler were unceremoniously named Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b. Since we are very interested in finding life elsewhere in our Universe it makes sense to look for planets more like our own. Kepler instruments are among the most sensitive ever created and Kepler detects these planets by accurately measuring tiny dips in the brightness of a star as a planet moves in front of it. Since a planet the size of the earth is so much smaller than the size of the star and require sensitive instruments to record. The glare of the star can easily hide these worlds from us and great care must be made when trying to find them. Detecting earth size planets is a lot like observing a fly as it crawls a cross the street late at night from many miles away. With Kepler we hope to find many earth size planets from which we can begin a systematic search for life elsewhere in our galaxy and finally begin to answer the question Is there anyone else?

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 36 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 117
Posted by: davidd on May 24, 2011

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