Articles about kepler


Kepler krunch koming: Super space 'scope's fuel tank almost empty

NASA has announced the Kepler Space Telescope has almost exhausted its fuel supply. News of the observatory's decline is expected: it was launched in 2009 and expected to last three-and-a-half years. It's still working today, even though the second of two “reaction wheels” used to aim the telescope broke in 2013. In its K2 …

Sigh. It's not quite Star Trek's Data, but it'll do: AI helps boffins clock second Solar System

Our Solar System is no longer the largest known planetary system in the Milky Way – after scientists confirmed the existence of an eighth planet, Kepler-90i, around a Sun-like star on Thursday. The discovery was made after Christopher Shallue, a senior software engineer at Google, and Andrew Vanderburg, a postdoctoral fellow …
Katyanna Quach, 15 Dec 2017

Boffins grudgingly admit they may have found an exomoon

After Twitter-leaks, a trio of exoplanet-hunters have decided to go public with observations they reckoned weren't quite up to broadcast-quality but which is rather significant: the first possible detection of a moon orbiting an exoplanet. It's hard enough to reliably spot exoplanets given that we do so by observing tiny …

NASA's Kepler space telescope finishes its original mission catalog

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has finished cataloging possible planets in the direction of the Cygnus constellation. At a news conference today, NASA astrobuffs announced that the telescope has identified 219 new planet candidates. Ten are about the size of the Earth and are in the “Goldilocks zone” – they’re at the magic …

Raw TRAPPIST-1 data lands tomorrow for crowdsourced hijinks

Astronomers and the astro-curious but software-savvy will be hovering over a download link waiting for midday Tuesday (US Eastern Time), when Kepler data for the TRAPPIST-1 system is published. If you managed to sleep through this year's biggest astronomy excitement so far: TRAPPIST-1 set a record for exoplanet discovery. …

Second 'dimmer switch' star spotted

One curious case of “what's that?” in astronomy is a puzzle: two gets astrophysicists on the way to an answer. An oddly-dimming star called EPIC 204278916 (EPIC in this article) might help boffins understand the “Dyson sphere” (no, it's not) Tabby's star. The group led by Simone Scaringi from the Max Planck Institute for …
A ginger tabby cat is walked on a leash over cobblestones. Photo by Shutterstock

'Alien megastructure' Tabby's Star: Light is definitely dimming

We might have thought that the long-term dimming of “alien megastructure” star, Tabby's Star, had been put to rest as a calibration error, but boffins now reckon its mysterious dimming can be seen in Kepler data. That, the boffins who checked back four years' worth of observations from the Kepler mission, puts the dimming of …

Kepler's K2 mission confirms 104 Earth-like planets

An international team of astronomers has confirmed a treasure trove of new exoplanets spotted by NASA's Kepler spacecraft during its K2 mission. Kepler was launched in 2009 to search for Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars. Scientists describe the region where an exoplanet might be the right distance away from a star to …
Katyanna Quach, 19 Jul 2016

Kepler space telescope spots 1,284 new planets

It's barely been 30 years since NASA spotted its first planet outside our solar system but on Tuesday the agency reported its biggest collection of sightings to date – 1,284 confirmed planets, along with 1,327 additional probable sightings and 707 possibles. The data comes from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which has been …
Iain Thomson, 10 May 2016

Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Waking up to a phone call in the wee small hours of the morning is almost never good. It’s usually a wrong number, a drunk ex wanting to talk, or the news that someone has died. When NASA's Kepler space telescope mission manager Charlie Sobeck was woken by ringing at 0125 on April 8, it was close to the latter. The Kepler …
Iain Thomson, 4 May 2016
IT Crowd's Roy:on the phone

NASA saves Kepler space 'scope by turning it off and on again

The Kepler space telescope is back in action after a tense couple of weeks for NASA engineers. On April 8 the space agency reported that Kepler was stuck in emergency mode, which not only made stellar observations impossible but also burns through the telescope's limited fuel reserves at a prodigious rate. In a couple of days …
Iain Thomson, 22 Apr 2016

NASA gives blacked-out Kepler space 'scope the kiss of life

The Kepler space telescope is back in action after mysteriously shifting into emergency mode last week. "Mission operations engineers have successfully recovered the Kepler spacecraft from Emergency Mode (EM)," said Charlie Sobeck, Kepler's mission manager at NASA's Ames Research Center. "On Sunday morning, the spacecraft …
Iain Thomson, 11 Apr 2016
NASA's exploding star illustration

Champagne supernova in the sky: Shockwaves seen breaking star

The Kepler space telescope is best known for its planet-hunting prowess, but in a paper just accepted by the Astrophysical Journal it's racked up another first: sighting a shockwave ripping a star apart as it goes supernova. Called by boffins the “shock breakout”, the shockwave is the “bounce” that happens when the star …
Disintegrating planet - artist's impression

'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

Pity the latest planet spotted by NASA's K2 (the re-birthed Kepler) mission: boiled by starlight from its host, WD 1145+017, and racked by gravity, it's only got a million years left. The planet, about the size of Ceres and circling a star shrunk down to roughly Earth-size, is already followed by so much debris that Harvard- …
Artist's impression of Earth-Like worlds. Pic: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Future civilisations won't know how the universe formed

Scientists have estimated that a whopping 92 per cent of "Earth-like" planets have yet to be born, and inhabitants of such worlds in the far-distant future will be "largely clueless as to how or if the universe began and evolved". Those are the conclusions of a study of Hubble Space Telescope and Kepler space observatory data …
Lester Haines, 21 Oct 2015
NASA travel poster for Kepler-16b crop

Boffins open 'space travel bureau': Come relax on exoplanet Kepler-16b, says NASA

Pics NASA appears to be transforming itself into an intergalactic travel agency after issuing a series of cheery posters of exoplanets. "Kepler-186f is the first Earth-size planet discovered in the potentially 'habitable zone' around another star, where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface," said NASA's blurb. Visit …

ALIEN EARTH: Red sun's habitable world spotted 470 light years away

The discovery of new planets likely to be able to support life along Earthly lines has been announced, with one of the most promising candidates for alien and/or human habitability located just 470 light-years away. The new exoplanets have been discovered by analysis of data from the Kepler space telescope, and bear the tags …
Lewis Page, 7 Jan 2015

Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'

New research suggests planets similar to our Earth are much more common across the galaxy than previously thought. And the boffins behind this revelation have also come up with a simple chemical recipe for creating habitable worlds suitable for use by advanced super-powered intelligences and/or deities etc. "Our solar system …
Lewis Page, 6 Jan 2015

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