Is the earth unique? Or is there life somewhere else out there in space? The NASA built space telescope Kepler was designed to give us some initial answers to these questions. The flying telescope was launched in 2009 and until summer of 2013, when it became clear that a defect in two of Kepler's reaction wheels was irreparable, rendering it unsuitable for the task of searching for planets.
The sudden end to the mission was a shock for planetary researchers given its tremendous success until that point. Kepler found 135 earth-like planets. Only a fraction of the data has been analyzed so far. We talk to scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research who are looking at the data and searching for habitable planets outside our solar system.
Reuters (Sep. 12, 2012) A team of scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Torun are using four remotely controlled telescopes placed around the globe to search for circumbinary systems - multiple transiting ... watch video
Feb. 9, 2016 Hundreds of hidden nearby galaxies have been studied for the first time, shedding light on a mysterious gravitational anomaly dubbed the Great Attractor. Despite being just ... read more
Feb. 5, 2016 Stars do not accumulate their final mass steadily, but in a series of violent events manifesting themselves as sharp stellar brightening. Stellar brightening can be caused by ... read more
Feb. 3, 2016 Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of the temperature of the large dust grains in the outer parts of a planet-forming disc around a young star. By applying a ... read more
Feb. 1, 2016 The origin of matter in the universe has puzzled physicists for generations. Today, we know that matter only accounts for 5 percent of our universe; another 25 percent is constituted of dark matter. ... read more
Jan. 29, 2016 Promising new calibration tools, called laser frequency combs, could allow astronomers to take a major step in discovering and characterizing earthlike planets around other ... read more
Feb. 4, 2015 Planetary scientists have calculated that there are hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life, by applying a 200 year old idea to the thousands of exo-planets ... read more
Apr. 18, 2013 New research has perhaps the smallest super-earth planet in its host star habitable zone. Kepler 62f is a small, probably rocky planet orbiting a sun-like star in the Lyra constellation. The planet ... read more
Apr. 18, 2013 A team of scientists has discovered two Earth-like planets in the habitable orbit of a Sun-like star. Using observations gathered by NASA's Kepler Mission, the team found five planets orbiting a ... read more
Aug. 23, 2012 Two newly submitted studies verify 41 new transiting planets in 20 star systems. These results may increase the number of Kepler's confirmed planets by more than 50 percent: to 116 planets ... read more