September 17, 2012
Kepler Mission Finds an Entire System of Planets Orbiting a Double Star
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NASA’s Kepler Mission has just discovered an entire system of planets orbiting a double star. The star system, known as Kepler-47, is located 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Two stars orbit one another at the center of the system: One is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is smaller, only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright. Kepler found two planets orbiting this mismatched pair. 
"In our search for habitable worlds, we have just found more opportunities for life to exist," said William Borucki, Kepler mission principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
"The presence of a full-fledged planetary system orbiting Kepler-47 is an amazing discovery," says Greg Laughlin, professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Scienceat the University of California in Santa Cruz. “This is going to change the way we think about the formation of planets.”
The inner planet, Kepler-47b, closely circles the pair of stars, completing each orbit in less than 50 days. Astronomers think it is a sweltering world, where the destruction of methane in its super-heated atmosphere might lead to a thick global haze. Kepler-47b is about three times the size of Earth. The outer planet, Kepler-47c, orbits every 303 days. This puts it in the system’s habitable zone, a band of orbits that are “just right” for liquid water to exist on the surface of a planet.
(via dailygalaxy)

Kepler Mission Finds an Entire System of Planets Orbiting a Double Star

NASA’s Kepler Mission has just discovered an entire system of planets orbiting a double star. The star system, known as Kepler-47, is located 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Two stars orbit one another at the center of the system: One is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is smaller, only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright. Kepler found two planets orbiting this mismatched pair. 

"In our search for habitable worlds, we have just found more opportunities for life to exist," said William Borucki, Kepler mission principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

"The presence of a full-fledged planetary system orbiting Kepler-47 is an amazing discovery," says Greg Laughlin, professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Scienceat the University of California in Santa Cruz. “This is going to change the way we think about the formation of planets.”

The inner planet, Kepler-47b, closely circles the pair of stars, completing each orbit in less than 50 days. Astronomers think it is a sweltering world, where the destruction of methane in its super-heated atmosphere might lead to a thick global haze. Kepler-47b is about three times the size of Earth. The outer planet, Kepler-47c, orbits every 303 days. This puts it in the system’s habitable zone, a band of orbits that are “just right” for liquid water to exist on the surface of a planet.

(via dailygalaxy)

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