Did that star just blink?
March 6, 2009 2:32 PM Subscribe
posted by borkencode (42 comments total)
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Tonight NASA is scheduled to launch the Kepler Mission
(named after planetary legislator Johannes Kepler
) with the goal of finding Earth size planets in orbit around stars in the Cygnus-Lyra
region of the sky. Over the next 3 and a half years it will maintain a nearly unblinking gaze on the approximately 100 thousand stars in the region. NASA expects it to find about 50 Earth size planets
, as well as hundreds that are larger. You can watch the launch live on NASA TV
Currently the smallest known exoplanet is COROT-Exo-7b
discovered by the French COROT
) Both the COROT and Kepler missions use the planetary transit method of detection, where a planet
crossing the face of a star causes a dip in its brightness.