Monday, July 26, 2010

Kepler's Magic

An Indian news outlet is reporting a major discovery.

Kepler has found planets that are "Earth-like containing both land and water". And not just one, but potentially 140 of them. With oceans.

This is some amazing work. Especially given that Kepler works by looking at the light curves of stars to look for periodic dips as the potential planet would pass in front of the star and NOT through the spectroscopic data that would, you know, allow us to actually analyze chemical composition to look for water.

And furthermore, finding planets like the article implies would require similar orbits of about a one year period. And since Kepler has barely been in orbit a year, noticing a periodic trend with only one possible data point is pretty amazing work too.

In fact, it's so impressive, it's impossible. It's magic.

Probably has something to do with why the real scientists working on the Kepler mission haven't bothered to report anything about this on their discoveries page.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

"Up to 140" sounds to me more like a statistical statement than a discovery, but I agree the statement and especially the title are hugely misleading.