The disabled spacecraft Kepler is really the gift that keeps on giving, much like the food poisoning that I have been suffering through since Sunday (Thanks Taco Bell, I didn’t know my order came with a free side of botulism!).
Analyzing data already gathered researchers have announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, an Earth sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of the sun in the Kepler-186 system.
Could this be another Earth? Nobody knows yet, the only thing that we know for sure is the planet’s orbit and size. All the other important discoveries will have to be determined.
Using a technique that our most recent speaker at the Riverside Astronomical Society explained last month, scientists can look for Earth-like planets by looking as smaller suns. That way, smaller planets appear larger than with large suns.
Kepler-186 is an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and only has about half mass of our sun. Proportionally, the light and heat given by a red dwarf are significantly less than our own star.
Now that they have the technique down, scientists want to find Earth’s twin. A much more daunting task given that Kepler only took data on 150,000 stars. However, if they find one (or more), that to will be another piece of the puzzle.
Image Credit, www.buildtheenterprise.org.
Now all we need is for someone to fund building the Enterprise, cause once they find Earth 2, people may want to go visit.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +