Kepler Discovers First Earth Sized Planets inside Habitable Zone

Keplers 1200 Planet candidates by size and location on the Photometer array of 42 CCD elements. Credit: NASA/Wendy Stenzel As the number of Pale Blue Dots increase, so do the chances for finding life on a Second Earth Updated with more Videos and photos below

With the startling new finding of dozens of Earth-sized extrasolar planets, NASA’s Kepler planet hunting space telescope has just revolutionized our understanding of Earths place in the Universe and the search for Extraterrestrial Life. And the historic science discovery is based on data collected in just the first few months of operation of the powerful telescope as it scans only a tiny portion of the sky.

The discovery of 1235 new extrasolar planet candidates was announced today (Feb.2) by NASA and Kepler scientists at a media briefing. 68 of these planet candidates are Earth-sized. Another 288 are Super-Earth-size, 662 are Neptune-size and 165 are Jupiter-size. Most of these candidates orbit stars like our sun.

Even more significant is that 54 of the planet candidates are located within the ‘habitable zone’ of their host stars and 5 of those are Earth-sized. Before today we knew of exactly ZERO Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone. Now there are 5.(…) Read the rest of Kepler Discovers First Earth Sized Planets inside Habitable Zone (1,292 words)

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(C) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | 22 comments | Add to del.icio.us Post

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