18 New Planets Just Showed Up – 2¢ Worth

As engineers work to develop better telescopes, both on Earth and in space, a different kind of astronomy is taking place and teaching us amazing things about our galaxy. Although the Kepler Space Telescope 8 months ago the fuel ran out and the 1.38 terabytes of data (my calculation) it produced is still being studied by a new generation of astronomers who are writing code in a computer rather than looking at the sky through a lens.

They’re developing smarter algorithms to scan all of this data to identify objects and phenomena that were previously hidden in digital noise. René Heller, from Germany Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, and his colleagues recently discovered 18 new planets. All of them are small, with the largest being slightly wider than two earths. One of the worlds is one of the smallest that Kepler has ever found; it is only 70 percent of the width of the earth. Another orbits the habitable zone of a red dwarf star, where temperature could allow liquid water to remain on its surface.

The 18 newly discovered planets, shown in orange and green in this illustration, are all smaller than Neptune, three even smaller than Earth. The green planet, named EPIC 201238110.02, is the only one in the new prey that could be life-friendly.

Anna Alfonso wrote a good description of data astronomy (The State of Data in Astronomy) on her blog. the data are.

There are now 3,972 confirmed exoplanets, worlds orbiting other stars, according to NASA’s Exoplanet Archives.

Original source: https://on.natgeo.com/2IlA7Xv

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for over 40 years. He continues to write, but is primarily looking for his closest intersection of play, passion, and purpose by engaging in photography, drone videography, and music production. View all posts by David Warlick

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