Author Topic: NASA - Kepler updates  (Read 162594 times)

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #340 on: 04/17/2014 06:05 PM »

Offline Go4TLI

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #341 on: 04/17/2014 06:16 PM »
I like this! 

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #342 on: 04/17/2014 06:17 PM »

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #343 on: 04/17/2014 06:33 PM »
Kepler 186-f - not a "super-Earth" but a living, breathing Earth sized planet, has been found in the habitable zone of a red dwarf 500 LY away.  This. Is. Huge.

Looking forward to what Tess and Gaia come up with!
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #344 on: 04/17/2014 06:47 PM »
Time to start building that interstellar probe.

Offline baldusi

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #345 on: 04/17/2014 07:27 PM »
Shouldn't Kepler start throwing more of these around now? In other words, had it had a longer life, the chances of Earth analogs would have gone up exponentially.

Offline John44

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #346 on: 04/17/2014 08:02 PM »
NASA Media Teleconference to Announce Latest Kepler Discovery
http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8848


Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #347 on: 04/17/2014 08:20 PM »
There is a concept for a large space based telescope shown in this video about this story, does anyone know what this concept is?

http://www.space.com/25531-new-earth-size-planet-could-have-water-video.html

Offline jacqmans

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #348 on: 04/17/2014 08:25 PM »

April 17, 2014

NASA's Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone'


Using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet. The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.

While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.

"The discovery of Kepler-186f is a significant step toward finding worlds like our planet Earth," said Paul Hertz, NASA's Astrophysics Division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Future NASA missions, like the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the James Webb Space Telescope, will discover the nearest rocky exoplanets and determine their composition and atmospheric conditions, continuing humankind's quest to find truly Earth-like worlds."

Although the size of Kepler-186f is known, its mass and composition are not. Previous research, however, suggests that a planet the size of Kepler-186f is likely to be rocky.

"We know of just one planet where life exists -- Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth," said Elisa Quintana, research scientist at the SETI Institute at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and lead author of the paper published today in the journal Science. "Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward."

Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system, about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four companion planets, which orbit a star half the size and mass of our sun. The star is classified as an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

"M dwarfs are the most numerous stars," said Quintana. "The first signs of other life in the galaxy may well come from planets orbiting an M dwarf."

Kepler-186f orbits its star once every 130-days and receives one-third the energy from its star that Earth gets from the sun, placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone. On the surface of Kepler-186f, the brightness of its star at high noon is only as bright as our sun appears to us about an hour before sunset.

"Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has," said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. "Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth."

The four companion planets, Kepler-186b, Kepler-186c, Kepler-186d, and Kepler-186e, whiz around their sun every four, seven, 13, and 22 days, respectively, making them too hot for life as we know it. These four inner planets all measure less than 1.5 times the size of Earth.

The next steps in the search for distant life include looking for true Earth-twins -- Earth-size planets orbiting within the habitable zone of a sun-like star -- and measuring the their chemical compositions. The Kepler Space Telescope, which simultaneously and continuously measured the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, is NASA's first mission capable of detecting Earth-size planets around stars like our sun.

Ames is responsible for Kepler's ground system development, mission operations, and science data analysis. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

The SETI Institute is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach.  The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler


Offline Jeff Lerner

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #349 on: 04/17/2014 08:34 PM »
....." placing it nearer the outer edge of the habitable zone....."

Wouldn't this likely make this planet  more Mars-like then Earth-like in terms of location and hence, more likely to not be habitable ?

Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #350 on: 04/17/2014 08:42 PM »
Wouldn't this likely make this planet  more Mars-like then Earth-like in terms of location and hence, more likely to not be habitable ?

If I got it correctly, the argument was that since the star is a red dwarf, a big chunk of its light output lies in the red and infrared regime where both water ice and atmospheric gasses (like CO2) are highly absorbing. In a sense, its starlight is more efficient at heating things up for a given wattage/square meter than our Sun is.

Another factor might be that since this planet is about 10% bigger in radius, it's likely to be farily more massive than Earth so it should be able to retain a thicker atmosphere than Mars (think Venus).
« Last Edit: 04/17/2014 08:45 PM by ugordan »

Offline butters

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #351 on: 04/17/2014 08:47 PM »
Mars only exceeds the freezing point seasonally and in equatorial regions. This planet seems to have an average temperature near freezing, which would make it significantly warmer than Mars.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #352 on: 04/17/2014 08:49 PM »
Wouldn't this likely make this planet  more Mars-like then Earth-like in terms of location and hence, more likely to not be habitable ?

If I got it correctly, the argument was that since the star is a red dwarf, a big chunk of its light output lies in the red and infrared regime where both water ice and atmospheric gasses (like CO2) are highly absorbing. In a sense, its starlight is more efficient at heating things up for a given wattage/square meter than our Sun is.

Another factor might be that since this planet is about 10% bigger in radius, it's likely to be farily more massive than Earth so it should be able to retain a thicker atmosphere than Mars (think Venus).

How much greater would its gravity be as it's 10% larger than Earth?

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #353 on: 04/17/2014 08:53 PM »
Mars only exceeds the freezing point seasonally and in equatorial regions. This planet seems to have an average temperature near freezing, which would make it significantly warmer than Mars.

Great! Kepler found Andoria...
« Last Edit: 04/17/2014 08:56 PM by yg1968 »

Offline butters

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #354 on: 04/17/2014 08:54 PM »
How much greater would its gravity be as it's 10% larger than Earth?

I don't think they know the planet's mass, just its diameter and an educated guess on composition.

I suppose they'd need to know the mass of the planet's star in order to calculate the mass of the planet based on its orbit. How do astrophysicists work this stuff out?

Offline R7

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #355 on: 04/17/2014 09:07 PM »
The space.com video shows Kepler-186f mass 1.11 of Earth and radius 1.1 so it appears to be less dense. Are telescopes accurate enough to sense possible atmosphere realistic with current tech, just waiting someone to loosen wallet?
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Offline yg1968

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« Last Edit: 04/17/2014 11:48 PM by yg1968 »

Offline notsorandom

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #357 on: 04/18/2014 02:52 AM »
The space.com video shows Kepler-186f mass 1.11 of Earth and radius 1.1 so it appears to be less dense. Are telescopes accurate enough to sense possible atmosphere realistic with current tech, just waiting someone to loosen wallet?
No not with out current telescopes. This was brought up in the teleconference and they said it was too dim  and too far away. In the later part of the decade once the James Webb and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite are launched we should have the ability to find planets around the closer and brighter stars then do some spectroscopy on them. However it will be a long time before we can tell much more about Kepler-186f.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #358 on: 04/18/2014 12:35 PM »
The space.com video shows Kepler-186f mass 1.11 of Earth and radius 1.1 so it appears to be less dense. Are telescopes accurate enough to sense possible atmosphere realistic with current tech, just waiting someone to loosen wallet?

I believe, and someone can correct me if I am wrong but the way to determine the mass of a planet orbiting a star is to see how the spectral lines shift (Doppler) as the planet orbit's the star. This involves feeding the star's light into a spectrograph and measuring the spectral line shift at various times. Using the star's mass and shift change one can calculate the mass required to cause the spectral shift. That would be the mass of your planet. The star is motion relative to us, so spectral lines would already have a red/blue shift. This is a periodic component on top of the stars normal spectral shift.

The size came from dimming observed during the eclipse observed by Kepler. The star diameter should be known.

The orbit from the timing of the eclipses (one would assume multiple eclipses).

In this case, no direct imaging of the planet is needed. Just the dimming of the stars light and how the star's spectral lines shift over the planets orbital period.
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Offline ugordan

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Re: NASA - Kepler updates
« Reply #359 on: 04/18/2014 12:50 PM »
I believe, and someone can correct me if I am wrong but the way to determine the mass of a planet orbiting a star is to see how the spectral lines shift (Doppler) as the planet orbit's the star.

This is not feasible for 186f. The planet orbits sufficiently far and is sufficiently small that any Doppler shift of the parent star is undetectable with current technology. The problem is made worse by the fact the star is intrinsically dim and quite far away (around 500 ly).

Planet masses can sometimes be deduced via transit timing variations, but again, it works best for tightly packed systems, i.e. the inner planets of Kepler 186.
« Last Edit: 04/18/2014 12:52 PM by ugordan »

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