Thanks largely to NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers have found thousands of exoplanets lurking outside our solar system. Finding what creeps around those planets, however, has proven itself to be incredibly challenging. While scientists have had a few close calls with exomoons over the years, so far, no discovery's been legit. But a group of astronomers at Columbia University now think they have found an exomoon for real, roughly 4000 lightyears away.
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Humanity hasn't done a ton of good in our short stint on Earth, though we've definitely succeeded at turning this planet into a trash pit of despair. Today, researchers from NASA's Kepler space telescope team announced we might get to bring our garbage party to another planet -- perhaps a bunch of them.
Wait, you thought the Kepler Space Telescope was dead? Think again. Today, NASA's Kepler team announced the discovery of a whopping 1284 new planets -- the largest number of exoplanets ever reported at once. Kepler's latest haul nearly doubles the number of confirmed planets beyond our solar system, bringing the total to roughly 3200.
KIC 8462852 has quickly become one of the biggest astronomical mysteries of the decade. It will be months before we have any firm answers on this fitfully flickering star, but astronomers intend to get to the bottom of it. How?
The Kepler spacecraft came roaring back into the news last week, when scientists announced that the plucky little planet hunter had unearthed hundreds of new exoplanets in our cosmic backyard, despite being literally broken. But that's not all Kepler's been up to -- by a long shot.
NASA’s announcement of the discovery of a new extrasolar planet has been met with a lot of excitement. But the truth is that it is impossible to judge whether it is similar to Earth with the few parameters we have – it might just as well resemble Venus, or something entirely different.
Kepler just can't stop discovering exoplanets. Nearly two years after scientists said it was crippled, the planet-hunting telescope recently identified eight new planets. But that's not all. They're all in the Goldilocks zone of their respective stars, and two of them are more Earth-like than anything astronomers have ever seen.
In May 2013, NASA's exoplanet-seeking spacecraft, Kepler, seemed doomed. Two of four wheels that stabilised its telescope had malfunctioned -- and NASA appealed to scientists from around the world for ideas to salvage its mission. Yesterday, it announced the discovery of a brand-new super-Earth 180 light years from our own.