Exoplanets and Kepler’s Legacy

Kepler artisst concept

The artist’s concept depicts Kepler-186f , the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Via NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

This post was written by Honor’s Bio student, Isabel López Molini.

Exoplanets are found outside our Solar System. They revolve around a different star. The NASA Kepler Space Telescope discovered the first near earth sized planet, marking the journey to finding another “Earth”. This planet was called Kepler-186f, dedicated to the astronomer Johannes Kepler for his laws on the idea that the planets orbited the sun and the orbits were not perfect circles, but ovals. Although it is not yet determined whether or not the planet is habitable, it is within a habitable zone. The problem is not the exoplanet itself, but the star it revolves around. Scientists believe the star might not provide enough sunlight or heat towards the planet, meaning that life may not be possible. Nevertheless there have been other discoveries of exoplanets.

Kepler-186f is known not as Earth’s twin but as Earth’s cousin; it is about 10X bigger than our Earth. The discoveries of these new exoplanets suggest that life may be possible somewhere else, which is a huge step for human kind. This video provides information and facts about kepler-186f:

A quote from Johannes Kepler:

“The diversity of the phenomena nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment.”

Kepler was amused by the discoveries that Earth provided, but outer space was his biggest source of amazement. Kepler was an extraordinary scientist because had an open mind; wonder was an important part of his scientific mind. This is what scientists need in order to stand out. He not only thought of the impossible but, most importantly, he stayed true to his scientific beliefs and that’s how scientists encounter new discoveries.

They fight for what they believe in.

10 thoughts on “Exoplanets and Kepler’s Legacy

  1. This exoplanet was discovered by the marvelous Kepler Space Telescope, also known as NASA’s K2 Mission. The Kepler Space Telescope is dedicated to finding planets outside of our solar system with similar size and characteristics to those of Earth. K2 searches for planetary transits and has fixed its gaze on regions of the sky with densely packed clusters of stars in order to find exoplanets. Since the launch of the observatory in 2009, astronomers have discovered hundreds of extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, through this telescope alone.

    How they hunt down alien planets: http://www.space.com/images/i/000/037/162/original/kepler-exoplanet-discoveries-140226b-02.jpg?1393442316



  2. Kepler 186f was found by NASA using a telescope named “Kepler Space Telescope”. The most amazing this about this exoplanet is that it is located in the habitable zone of its star and it’s similar in size as Earth. In addition, scientists predict that it may have an atmosphere with a composition of oxygen but they’re still not sure. Although this planet is located in the habitable zone of that star, the orbit may be too far away from it and the water is believed to be frozen. In contrast, if it’s not, there would be a probability to find simple life in its oceans. Nevertheless, it is believed that more exoplanets similar to Earth may be discovered like for example Kepler 62f, which is also found in the habitable zone of its nearest star. With hundreds of exoplanets being discovered one of them may be capable con containing life.



  3. The idea that there are more planets outside our solar system already discovered and yet to be discovered is so fascinating, even so after the discovery of Kepler 186f. These planets, now identified as exoplanets, which is a planet that orbits a star outside a solar system, and their possible habitable atmosphere would be a huge milestone for NASA. As seen in the video, NASA scientists first observe such planet and hypothesize whether life could be a possibility; considering that our planet Earth is very rich in the CHNOPS elements (which is necessary and crucial for life to be possible), it is evident that those are the first things scientists search for in newly discovered exoplanets/planets after observing their atmosphere. This and many more recently discovered exoplanets are named after the mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, who declared laws that specified his ideas that planets orbit the sun and the orbits are not necessarily perfect circles. Speechless discovery that of the Kepler 186f, interested to know the development of this amazing research.

    Here is a link to a NASA site in which there is a list of some (20) exoplanets recently found in and out of our solar system: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/20-intriguing-exoplanets


    • Osiris transit catalyzed a new era of space exploration:

      “The first planet to be seen in transit (crossing its star) and the first planet to have it light directly detected. The HD 209458 b transit discovery showed that transit observations were feasible and opened up an entire new realm of exoplanet characterization.
      Credits: NASA, European Space Agency, Alfred Vidal-Madjar (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS)”


  4. Just earlier this year another exoplanet was discovered under the name of Proxima Centauri b by the European Southern Observatory. Although it is unlikely to be habitable, a Russian investor has proposed to send unmanned spacecraft to the system for exploration which would take 20 years to get there and 4 years for information to be received on Earth. Proxima b is only 4.2 light years away so if it can be made habitable or it is found that is has habitable satellites it may very well be subject to human colonization with future spacecraft powered by EM drives.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Imagine a few hundred years from now, waking up one day and say “Today I want to visit my friend from this other planet.” Currently, that is an impossible dream, but with breakouts like this one, it just might not be so impossible. Out of the 1,030 confirmed Kepler planets, only a dozen have earth-like features. Kepler 186f only receives a third of energy compared to what our planet receives from the sun, placing it right on the outside edge of the habitable zone. I hope scientists can find even more habitable planets in any time soon, that would take the meaning of human migration to another world, literally.

    Source: http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/finding-another-earth


  6. Its pretty amazin finding out that there is another planet much like ours. We are used to finding planets with much more differences than ours, which gives us a different perspective as to what goes on in the universe. And if there are Earth-like planets, does that mean that there are creatures much like us humans who inhabit them? That is something that we now have to look forward to.http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2016/08/kepler-missions-top-20-identifies-best-earth-like-candidates.html


  7. Astronomers search for potentially habitable planets. Ideally, they want to find planets just like Earth, since we know without a doubt that life is only possible with a planet that simulates Earth’s conditions. The hunt is on for planets about the size of Earth that orbit at just the right distance from their star. These K2 are extremely important because Earth deteriorates faster every day because of the insensible habitants it houses. With this said, the only chance for the human race to survive is by discovering planets with habitable conditions.


  8. It is crazy to think that there could be another planet out in the universe that could support life just as our own, but with all these new discoveries and the more that we research, the idea of it being possible isn’t so far fetched. Who knows if already there is a planet just like ours, with human life and everything, just light years away. These theories cannot be discarded because there is still so much to discover about our universe, which is greatly unpredictable. In this article by NASA, it is said that there are already 7 Earth like planets discovered already: https://www.nasa.gov/jpl/finding-another-earth


  9. I know that im not the oly one that has ever wodered what lies beyond our solar system, and now we can see what is trully happenning. First we could see stars and constellations, then to planets and now exoplanets, its trully remarkable how far technology and the dedicated scientist have taken us. Kepler was just like a kid in a candy store, he wanted to see how far he could go and where it could take him, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to what he achieved. His help gave us information on earth like and size like planets that just goes to show we are not trully uniquehttps://www.google.com.pr/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/overview/&ved=0ahUKEwiU0bOkmoLTAhVCJCYKHYHMDCAQFgiLATAW&usg=AFQjCNHOgokbJK3gAemlI_6lxhSFNaYlNA


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