Details of Discoveries of outer space

“Space is a huge time machine,” said Dr. Krzysztof Stanek, professor of astronomy at Ohio State University. “When we look at distant galaxies, we see them as they were many billions of years ago, because it takes tremendous amounts of energy and time for light to reach us from there.”

In the context of space, astronomers use the word “lightyear” to describe a unit of astronomical length – a distance that light can travel through a vacuum in one year. A light-year equals 5,878 billion miles (9,460 billion kilometres).

Kelper Mission

A large brick building with a mountain in the background

In December 2012, NASA announced that its Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet in the “habitable zone” around a sun-like star. This discovery confirms that Earth-size planets exist in the habitable zones of other stars and signals a significant step closer to finding a world similar to Earth.

In February 2013, astronomers from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope program announced that they have completed the largest and most sensitive survey ever carried out for small planets beyond our solar system – known as exoplanets – with results showing the promise of future discoveries of even more smaller Earth-sized worlds.

The Kepler mission has identified over 3,500 potential exoplanet candidates since its launch in 2009. On January 6, 2012, NASA announced Kepler’s discovery of the first confirmed rocky planet outside the Solar System orbiting a star similar to the Sun. Kepler-10b is approximately 1.4 times the size of Earth.

“Before our very eyes, nature has provided us with the fundamental ingredients that are required for life,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “These rocky planets are so small and cold that they would be like oases in space – perhaps harboring water or organic chemicals.”

The Kepler Space Telescope currently being used by NASA aims to locate exoplanets orbiting distant stars by measuring dips in a star’s brightness as a planet crosses in front of it. An international team of astronomers announced their discovery January 4, 2013 of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting star at just about one Earth-Sun distance away. The researchers think that the planet’s warm, balmy climate makes it a prime candidate for hosting life forms.

Exoplanets

Water next to the window

In February 2013, astronomers from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope program announced that they have completed the largest and most sensitive survey ever carried out for small planets beyond our solar system – known as exoplanets – with results showing the promise of future discoveries of even more smaller Earth-sized worlds.

Astronomers using telescopes at Hawaii’s W.M. Keck Observatory have discovered hints about where to look for water in the atmospheres of planets beyond the Solar System—a step that is key to determining if any of these alien worlds could support life.

A NASA spacecraft made a somewhat blind but expertly guided plunge into the atmosphere of Jupiter on Monday in a bid to unlock some of the giant planet’s most closely guarded secrets.

One thought on “Details of Discoveries of outer space

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Table of Contents