Friday, August 27, 2010

NASA discovers two new distant planets

NASA's Kepler telescope just "observed" two planets a bit smaller than Saturn orbiting a distant star. The goal of the space telescope is to check for new planets passing in front of the stars. "This is the first discovery of multiple planets orbiting the same star" by looking for transits, revealed William Borucki, the science main investigator for Kepler mission. The sun-like star, assigned as Kepler-9, is located about 2000 ligh years in the constelation Lyra. The new discovered planets, called Kepler-9b and Kepler-9c, showed obvious signs of gravitational interaction. NASA scientists for Kepler mission were hoping to find Earth-like planets, but these two do not fit their expectation. Besides the fact that they are much bigger than the Earth, Kepler-9b and 9c are also much closer to the star they are orbiting. This situation makes them be considered very hot planets in conditions in which the habitable region is pretty far out from these stars. The telescope discovered also a third body approximately 1.5 times the size of the Earth and orbiting the star very close with a period of 1.6 days. NASA has not confirmed yet this third celestial body as a planet.


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