Feeds

NASA's Kepler dazzles with first pics in new-Earth hunt

One snapshot, millions of stars

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NASA's Kepler space telescope has sent home the first images of the starry patch of sky where it will soon begin the hunt for Earth-like planets.

The first snaps show Kepler's entire field of view, a 100-square-degree portion of the sky in the Cygnus-Lyra region of the Milky Way, roughly equivalent to the size of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.

The mission will spend the next three-and-a-half years scouring the area looking for minute fluctuations in the stars' brightness as their orbiting planets cross Kepler's field of view.

Scientists hope to find evidence of extra-solar worlds the size of Earth in habitable zones around stars like the Sun - planets that could be a suitable home for life as we know it.

"Kepler's first glimpse of the sky is awe-inspiring," said Lia LaPiana, Kepler's program executive at NASA DC headquarters. "To be able to see millions of stars in a single snapshot is simply breathtaking."

You're out there somewhere: 14 million stars in the full field of view

This first shot shows Kepler's full field of view, containing an estimated 14 million stars. More than 100,000 of these have been selected as candidates for the agency's planet hunting, NASA said.

The image has been color-coded to show brighter stars in white and fainter stars in red. It's a 60-second exposure taken on April 8, just one day after the spacecraft jettisoned its dust cover.

Lyra, Lyra, stars on fire-ra

This image zooms in on 0.2 per cent of Kepler's full field of view, showing hundreds of stars in the constellation Lyra.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.