Sunday, Oct 23rd

Last update05:20:13 AM GMT

You are here News Science Surprise find in Kepler planet hunt: lots of multi-planet systems

Surprise find in Kepler planet hunt: lots of multi-planet systems

Kepler planet systemsNASA's Kepler spacecraft, which is searching for Earth-mass planets orbiting sun-like stars, is finding hundreds of candidate planets, and many more multi-planet systems than expected.

Two years into a 3-1/2-year mission, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, hunting for planets orbiting some 165,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus, is uncovering planet candidates by the hundreds.

Many of these inhabit multi-planet systems that are unexpectedly flat – the inclination of the planets’ orbits within each of these systems are essentially the same, a feature that may hold clues about how these systems formed and evolved.

Not only is the team uncovering many more multi-planet systems than it had anticipated. But the systems hold the promise of allowing researchers to gain valuable information that can lead to an initial estimation of each planet's density and hence it's bulk composition – is it rocky, a water world, or something else? And they potentially can estimate these traits more quickly than previously thought.

These multi-planet-system discoveries “are very important to the success of the mission,” said David Latham, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., and a member of the Kepler team. He spoke at a briefing May 23 at the American Astronomical Society's spring meeting underway in Boston.


Most Recent Related Stories...

European spacecraft goes silent minute before difficult Mars landing

European space craft goes silentThe “Mars Curse” may have claimed another victim.Europe’s Schiaparelli lander, scheduled to settle into the Martian...

The ExoMars Spacecraft Approaches the Red Planet

ExoMars SpacecraftThe European-Russian ExoMars spacecraft will release a lander onSunday. Both spacecraft and lander will arrive at...

Scientists discover physical source of depression

physical source of depression discoveredAn international research team says they have identified the physical source of depression in the brain...

The Universe has two trillion more galaxies than astronomers thought

universe has two million more galaxiesThere are a dizzying two trillion galaxies in the Universe, up to 20 times more than...
America's # 1 Enemy
Tee Shirt
& Help Support!
TVNL Tee Shirt
Conserve our Planet
& Help Support!
Get your 9/11 & Media
Deception Dollars
& Help Support!
The Loaded Deck
The First & the Best!
The Media & Bush Admin Exposed!