Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Captain Seafort » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:59 pm

Beeb

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of an Earth-like planet in the "habitable zone" around a star not unlike our own.

The planet, Kepler 22-b, lies about 600 light-years away and is about 2.4 times the size of Earth, and has a temperature of about 22C.

It is the closest confirmed planet yet to one like ours - an "Earth 2.0".

However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.

During the conference at which the result was announced, the Kepler team said that it had spotted some 1,094 new candidate planets.

The Kepler space telescope was designed to look at a fixed swathe of the night sky, staring intently at about 150,000 stars. The telescope is sensitive enough to see when a planet passes in front of its host star, dimming the star's light by a minuscule amount.

Kepler identifies these slight changes in starlight as candidate planets, which are then confirmed by further observations by Kepler and other telescopes in orbit and on Earth.

Kepler 22-b was one of 54 candidates reported by the Kepler team in February, and is just the first to be formally confirmed using other telescopes.

More of these "Earth 2.0" candidates are likely to be confirmed in the near future, though a redefinition of the habitable zone's boundaries has brought that number down to 48.

Kepler 22-b lies at a distance from its sun about 15% less than the distance from the Earth to the Sun, and its year takes about 290 days. However, its sun puts out about 25% less light, keeping the planet at its balmy temperature that would support the existence of liquid water.

The Kepler team had to wait for three passes of the planet before upping its status from "candidate" to "confirmed".

"Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," said William Borucki, Kepler principal investigator at Nasa's Ames Research Center.

"The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season."

The results were announced at the Kepler telescope's first science conference, alongside the staggering number of new candidate planets. The total number of candidates spotted by the telescope is now 2,326 - of which 207 are approximately Earth-sized.

In total, the results suggest that planets ranging from Earth-sized to about four times Earth's size - so-called "super-Earths" - may be more common than previously thought.


Cool. :)
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Lt. Staplic » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:57 pm

However, the team does not yet know if Kepler 22-b is made mostly of rock, gas or liquid.


That's the only down side right now, not really earth2.0 until we know this for sure, but hopefully we can get some idea what it's made of and find out for sure.
Check this out, Let me know if your interested: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=7385
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:12 am

I wouldn't have thought a gas ball would hold together if it was only 2.4 times the size of Earth.

A water ball, maybe... but a water planet like that one in Voyager would be seriously awesome!
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Mikey » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:04 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:I wouldn't have thought a gas ball would hold together if it was only 2.4 times the size of Earth.

A water ball, maybe... but a water planet like that one in Voyager would be seriously awesome!


Knowing humans, we'd probably send our version of Tom to f*&$ it up.
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:40 pm

it's really the inert form of a sleeping god populated by two factions of warring shapeshifting robots. Pray they don't notice us-PRAY! ;)

And yes, this is pretty cool.
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby alexmann » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:06 pm

Now we just need to get there.
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Tinadrin Chelnor » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:21 am

alexmann wrote:Now we just need to get there.


Just think happy thoughts... and before you know it... :)
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby alexmann » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:06 am

It's tempting to put in a "that's what she said", but I think i'll stick with I hope we get there soon.
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby Lighthawk » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:30 am

Unless you're using a very generous and relative definition of "soon", I really don't see it happening.
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Re: Kepler confirms possible "Earth 2.0"

Postby alexmann » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:47 am

Me neither but you never know.
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