NASA's recently retired Kepler space telescope was famous for its ability to spot thousands of exoplanets. But this year, it presented a mysterious observation of a supernova.
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NASA’s venerable Kepler space telescope, which discovered nearly 2,700 exoplanets in distant star systems, has officially been retired after finally running out of fuel, the space agency wrote in a statement on Tuesday. When it launched in 2009, it was equipped with “the largest digital camera outfitted for outer space observations at that time,” NASA wrote, and scientists on Earth had very limited knowledge of planets beyond the reach of the solar system.
NASA's $US600 ($811) million Kepler space telescope, which is more or less running on thruster fuel fumes nearly a decade after its launch in 2009, woke up from a four-week hibernation phase on Thursday and is transmitting data back to Earth, Space.com reported on Friday. If all goes well, it may even be capable of continuing its mission to detect more exoplanets in distant star systems.
NASA's storied Kepler Space Telescope — the craft which has discovered thousands of exoplanets since its launch in 2009 — is entering the retirement phase of its lifespan. NASA announced on Friday that Kepler staff had "received an indication that the spacecraft fuel tank is running very low" and "placed the spacecraft in a hibernation-like state in preparation to download the science data collected in its latest observation campaign."
Supernovae produce some of the most powerful explosions in the cosmos, expelling a doomed star's contents at velocities reaching 10 per cent the speed of light. It usually takes a few weeks or months for a supernova to fade into nothingness, but astronomers have now documented a record-setting case in which a star was extinguished in just a few days.
The space-based telescope responsible for detecting 2245 exoplanets, and another 2342 yet to be confirmed, is running out of fuel and may have just a few months left before its lights go out. The Kepler spacecraft will go down in history as one of the greatest astronomical tools ever used to scan the heavens.
Kepler is the gift that keeps on giving. After suffering a major malfunction five years ago, the rejiggered space-based telescope continues to churn away, scanning the heavens for signs of distant worlds. An international team of astronomers has now released the results of its latest survey, confirming the existence of nearly 100 new exoplanets.
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.
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.