Skip to main content

Smallest rocky planet outside solar system discovered

The smallest rocky planet ever spotted outside Earth’s solar system has been found by the Kepler observatory, the US space agency said Monday.

The planet called Kepler—10b is the first Earth—sized planet confirmed found by Kepler, which was launched in 2009 to find small planets orbiting distant stars. It is about 1.4 times the size of Earth, according to data gathered during eight months of observations, NASA said.

The newly discovered planet, however, is too close to its sun to harbour life, scientists said.

“The discovery of Kepler—10b is a significant milestone in the search for planets similar to our own,” said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler programme scientist at NASA. “Although this planet is not in the habitable zone, the exciting find showcases the kinds of discoveries made possible by the mission and the promise of many more to come.” The Kepler mission is designed to discover other Earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy, but for those planets to be capable of harbouring life, they must be located in what scientists dub the “Goldilocks” zone — neither too hot nor too cold.

Last year, Kepler scientists reported the discovery of a small planetary system orbiting another star, a first for the orbiting telescope. It might also include a small, rocky planet orbiting near its sun.

The Kepler space telescope is finely tuned enough to detect Earth— sized planets orbiting distant stars. The 590—million—dollar telescope programme is to spend at least the next three and a half years pointed at a large swath of the Milky Way galaxy, which contains about 4.5 million stars.

The most advanced cameras ever used in space are focussing on 100,000 to 150,000 stars deemed most likely to have orbiting planets, scientists said at a prelaunch press briefing. Data from the cameras are to be used to find planets by looking for distortions in the light being emitted as an orbiting planet crosses in front of the star.


Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010

Katie Stanton, International Strategist for Twitter Katie Stanton has impressively long names of companies in her resume. They include the White House, Google Inc, and her latest addition is Twitter. Her remit is working on Twitter’s international strategy and her experience in social media will be a key asset to the company. Katie has a history of working in technology, and her knowledge of departmental laws will help Twitter work alongside government agencies, as she’ll be spearheading the free information approach, especially after the Wikileaks incident. Stanton has been a key player in the techsphere for some time, and this extends to her private life. Following the Haiti disaster she worked with a group of engineers to create a free texting service to help those in need and she is constantly in demand as an expert in both social media and government policy.
Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch Despite having a surname which sounds like a pseudonym for a spy (it’…

AT&T MiFi 2372 review

In the week or so that I have been testing the AT&T MiFi 2372 by Novatel Wireless, it has already saved no less than three lives. First, it saved my cable guy’s life. You see, Time Warner Cable provides the worst home Internet service I have ever experienced. I can’t even think of a close second. If providing terrible home Internet service was a sport, Time Warner Cable would be on its tenth consecutive undefeated season. Forget the fact that my upload speed is capped at 60Kbps and I’m lucky if I can get half that — it has been months since I’ve gone through a full day without at least one service interruption. Months. Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable has an exclusive contract with my building so I have no choice but to endure its abysmal service. Last week, as a Time Warner Cable technician entered my home for the sixth time in two months, I realized that this certainly would have spelled serious trouble had it not been for my trusty new back up device. Before the Mi…

Evolution Of Computer Virus [infographic]