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Great Explorations 3-D Solar System


An exoplanet seen from its moon (artist’s impression). Via the IAU.

Kepler finds alien planets by noticing the tiny brightness dips they cause when they cross their host stars' faces from the spacecraft's perspective. This work requires incredibly precise pointing — an ability Kepler lost in May 2013 when the second of its four orientation-maintaining reaction wheels failed.

The K2-72 planets are among 104 alien worlds recently discovered by the Kepler telescope during its bounce-back K2 mission. Study leader Ian Crossfield, of the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, first , during a presentation at the 227th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Kissimmee, Florida, and the results were in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

To learn more about the planets and missions, check out these links:

  • #217 Wow
    December 9, 2013


    *MY* juvenile demands?

    You will insist on the IAU being right on dwarf planets but not right on pluto being a dwarf planet.

    The reason being that you want pluto to be a planet.

  • To learn more about the planets and missions, check out these links:

    Believing astrology is different from worshiping them. Billions of people read weekly predictions for their zodiacal signs in India and Western Countries. For many of us it is fun, for some of us it is accurate prediction!! But I am talking about actual worship of Nine Heavenly bodies (planets): Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. In Sanskrit we call them Surya, Chandra, Angaraka, Bhudha, Guru/Bruhaspati, Sukra and Sani.

    Data he obtained from the mass spectrometer on the Viking Mars lander suggested a striking similarity between components of the atmospheres of Mars and Earth. The Mars Rover Curiosity, which recently landed on the surface of Mars carries both infrared and mass spectrometers that will repeat and extend the Viking measurements with much higher precision. This will enable a rigorous comparison of Mars with Earth. If the new direct measurements on Mars duplicate the terrestrial array of noble gases, a common source (comets perhaps?) for some fraction of the volatiles on these planets is implicated.