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Beyond Earthly Skies

Kepler’s Bonanza of Earth-Like Planet Candidates

24 Dec 2015, 23:00 UTC
Kepler’s Bonanza of Earth-Like Planet Candidates
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Coughlin et al. (2015) present the seventh Kepler planet candidate catalogue. It contains data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope over 48 months. This catalogue brings the total number of planet candidates to 4696. It also contains several new planet candidates that are likely to be rocky and in the habitable zone of their host stars. A few noteworthy planet candidates are further discussed in this article.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a habitable planet.Figure 2: A plot of planet radius versus insolation flux for all planet candidates known in this catalogue. (Note that some planet candidates, particularly those with large radii, lie outside the chosen axis limits for the plot, and thus are not shown.) The temperature of the host star is indicated via the colour of each point, and the signal-to-noise of the detection is indicated via the size of each point. The two vertical dashed lines indicate the insolation flux values of Mars and Venus as a broad guide to a potential habitable zone. The horizontal dotted line is set at 1.6 times the Earth’s radius as a suggested guide to where roughly half of the planets with this size are expected to be rocky. Coughlin et al. ...

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