KEPLER’S GREATEST HITS
What has Kepler taught us about the Milky Way?
There are more planets than stars
Just a few decades ago we didn’t know of any planets beyond those in our Solar System. We now know that almost every star in the galaxy is orbited by a planet or, in most cases, multiple planets.
Small planets are common
Based on Kepler data, it’s estimated that between 20 and 50 per cent of the stars visible to us are likely to have small, Earth-sized worlds orbiting in their habitable zones.
Exoplanets are varied
A diverse range of exoplanets have been discovered during Kepler’s missions. The most common types of planets in our galaxy are somewhere between the size of Earth and Neptune – something that does not exist anywhere in our Solar System.
Many systems are compact
Many exoplanets orbit their parent stars closely, unlike in our Solar System. It’s not clear yet whether they form this close or whether they have migrated in.
Secrets of stars
Kepler studied over 500,000 stars during its lifetime. These observations have helped us understand the basic properties of exoplanets orbiting them and have even captured the beginnings of supernova explosions.
Kepler has run out of fuel after over nine years in deep space and will be retired in its current orbit safely away from Earth