Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Greece 'set to run out of money by March'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo: Senate amends controversial constitutional law

Read more

WEB NEWS

Facebook is cracking down on viral hoaxes

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Pope and family planning: Heated debate over pontiff's 'rabbit' comments (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Twitter storm as IMF boss Lagarde hails Saudi King Abdullah as 'strong advocate of women'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Saudi King Abdullah dies: Succession, stability and youth in question (part 1)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Davos 2015: Businesses 'cautiously optimistic' in Japan

Read more

WEB NEWS

Hashtag battle over Venezuelan president's address

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Greece's political earthquake

Read more

Kepler space telescope quickly spots planet in search for new worlds

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-07

The Kepler space telescope has sent back 'stunning' images of a Jupiter-sized planet some 1,000 light years away only five months after it was launched on a mission to find earth-like planets in the galaxy, NASA scientists said on Thursday.

REUTERS - The orbiting Kepler telescope has spotted a Jupiter-sized planet around another star -- a sighting that demonstrates it can see Earth-like planets if they are out there, scientists reported on Thursday.

 

The planet, called HAT-P-7b, was already among the 300 or so known so-called extrasolar planets, the team led by the U.S. space agency NASA reported. But measurements of its orbit by Kepler show the telescope will be able to see smaller planets, they reported in the journal Science.

 

 

"We think it is likely that Kepler is going to find oodles and oodles of Earths," astrobiologist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington told a news conference.

 

Boss said one day "we'll be able to stand outside ... and say 'Hey kids, look out there see that star? That one has an Earth".

 

The team, led by William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, said the telescope not only detected the "hot Jupiter", which orbits very close to its sun, but was able to get readings that could give information about its atmosphere.

 

This ability will help scientists tell whether Earth-like planets have water or oxygen on their surfaces.

 

Kepler was launched in March with the specific goal of finding Earth-sized planets that might support life outside our solar system. It orbits the sun behind the Earth and in theory should be able to spot things that Earthbound telescopes and even the orbiting Hubble telescope cannot.

 

It uses a standard planet-hunting method -- watching for the slight dimming of a star's light as a planet passes in front of it.

 

Borucki's team is looking at data from Kepler's observations of more than 50,000 stars. "The question remains how many Earths are there out there for Kepler to find," Boss said.
 

Date created : 2009-08-07

COMMENT(S)