January 11th, 2013

galaxy M51

Astro-Porn of the Day: It's full of planets....

...the galaxy, that is. NASA's Kepler mission just announced that they have discovered 461 new planets. Four of the new planets are less than twice the size of Earth ("super-Earths") and orbit in their sun's habitable zone, the orbit where liquid water might exist on the surface of a planet. Since last year, Kepler has increased its planet-discovery by 20&percent; and now totals 2,740 potential planets orbiting 2,036 stars. The categories that saw the most dramatic increases are the Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized candidates, which grew by 43 and 21 percent, respectively:

Click the image to see the Astronomy.com story.

I suspect we'll end up discovering that most stars have a crew much like that of our Sun: Mostly gas giants in the outer reaches, and mostly little rocky worlds up close.

Click the image to see the Astronomy.com story.