Feeds

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

One snapshot, millions of stars

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.