Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Don't even try to convince me that we're alone

This animation shows the 2299 high-quality (multiple transits), non-circumbinary transiting planet candidates found by NASA's Kepler mission so far. These candidates were detected around 1770 unique stars, but are animated in orbit around a single star. They are drawn to scale with accurate radii (in r / r* ), orbital periods, and orbital distances (in d / r*). They range in size from 1/3 to 84 times the radius of Earth. Colours represent an estimate of equilibrium temperature, ranging from 4,586 C at the hottest to -110 C at the coldest - red indicates warmest, and blue / indigo indicates coldest candidates.

Watching in full screen + HD is highly recommended, so you can see even the smallest planets! Just think - this is what the Kepler mission has found in just 3.5 years. The Kepler team estimated that 5.4% of all stars host Earth-size planet candidates, and that 17% of all stars have multiple planets. Although only 2299 planets are represented in the animation, as of December 2011, they had found 2326 planet candidates.

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