What has Ke­pler taught us about the Milky Way?

How It Works - - GLOBAL EYE -

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

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