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posted by Fnord666 on Friday February 16 2018, @05:35PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the not-the-mountain dept.

Data from the Kepler spacecraft's extended mission has been used to confirm 95 new exoplanet discoveries:

"We started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries," said American PhD student Andrew Mayo at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

[...] The Kepler spacecraft was launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope. However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission, which is still ongoing as the spacecraft searches for exoplanet transits.

[...] One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star. "We validated a planet on a 10 day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to host a validated planet. Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories," said Mayo.

275 candidates and 149 validated planets orbiting bright stars in K2 campaigns 0-10 (open, DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aaadff) (DX)

This work, in addition to increasing the population of validated K2 planets by more than 50% and providing new targets for follow-up observations, will also serve as a framework for validating candidates from upcoming K2 campaigns and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), expected to launch in 2018.


Original Submission

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NASA Retires the Kepler Space Telescope after It Runs Out of Hydrazine 15 comments

NASA Retires Kepler Space Telescope

After nine years in deep space collecting data that indicate our sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets - more planets even than stars - NASA's Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.

"As NASA's first planet-hunting mission, Kepler has wildly exceeded all our expectations and paved the way for our exploration and search for life in the solar system and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "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. Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars."

Kepler Space Telescope Put into Hibernation Mode before Start of 19th Observation Campaign 4 comments

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Pauses Science Observations to Download Science Data

Earlier this week, NASA's Kepler team received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low. NASA has placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign. Once the data has been downloaded, the expectation is to start observations for the next campaign with any remaining fuel.

[...] To bring the data home, the spacecraft must point its large antenna back to Earth and transmit the data during its allotted Deep Space Network time, which is scheduled in early August. Until then, the spacecraft will remain stable and parked in a no-fuel-use safe mode. On August 2, the team will command the spacecraft to awaken from its no-fuel-use state and maneuver the spacecraft to the correct orientation and downlink the data. If the maneuver and download are successful, the team will begin its 19th observation campaign on August 6 with the remaining fuel.

Also at The Verge and Engadget.

Related: Google Researchers Discover an 8th Planet in the Kepler-90 System
Citizen Scientists Credited for Discovery of Multi-Planet System
Kepler's K2 Mission Going Strong With Another 95 New Exoplanets Confirmed
NASA's TESS Mission Set to Launch on Wednesday, April 18


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @05:39PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @05:39PM (#638902)

    If not, they are not real planets like our Earth.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DeathMonkey on Friday February 16 2018, @06:44PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday February 16 2018, @06:44PM (#638931) Journal

      Sorry your rocket didn't work! [washingtonpost.com]

      I'm sure you'll prove your deeply-held (but curiously recently stated) beliefs any day now!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 17 2018, @10:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 17 2018, @10:14AM (#639283)

        Ah but in a flat world it shouldn’t work. So the rocket not working proves the earth is flat!

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bob_super on Friday February 16 2018, @05:45PM (7 children)

    by bob_super (1357) on Friday February 16 2018, @05:45PM (#638903)

    Lots of opportunities to escape the mess that humans are making here.

    Can we get a telescope to identify those planets' gods and financial systems, so I know which multi-generational ship to board, without the fear that my great-great-...-great-grandchildren will find land in a place as silly as this one?

    • (Score: 2) by The Archon V2.0 on Friday February 16 2018, @06:29PM

      by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Friday February 16 2018, @06:29PM (#638923)

      > without the fear that my great-great-...-great-grandchildren will find land in a place as silly as this one?

      Instead they'll land in a place with new and innovative forms of silliness!

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Friday February 16 2018, @06:36PM (2 children)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 16 2018, @06:36PM (#638926) Journal

      Given these putative voyagers are your descendants, I rather suspect they will bring the silliness with them.
      Like the idea of multi-generational ships.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @06:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @06:47PM (#638933)

      When you get there take extra care to disinfect the telephone headsets.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @08:52PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @08:52PM (#639033)

      opportunities to escape the mess that humans are making here.

      Sorry to disappoint, but it's mostly Ferengis and Klingons out there, not Vulcans. Humans are average on the Jerk Scale.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by bob_super on Friday February 16 2018, @09:45PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Friday February 16 2018, @09:45PM (#639062)

        > Humans are average on the Jerk Scale.

        Faith is a wonderful thing.

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