Six planets the size of the Earth have been discovered in the habitable zones of stars. The mission of NASA's Kepler discovered his first planets the size of the Earth candidates to life, that is located in the habitable zone of the star, a region where liquid water can exist on the surface of a planet. Five of these planets are about the size of Earth and orbits are in the habitable zone of stars cooler than our sun. These candidates for life are the subject of observation and monitoring to verify their real lives. Kepler confirmed the observation of six planets around a sun-like star. This is the largest group of transiting planets observed around a single star outside our solar system.
"In one generation we went from alien planets, the pillars of science fiction to reality and has allowed Kepler science fiction turns into reality today," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
Several hundred new planets have been identified in the data from the Kepler Mission Science, published Tuesday, February 1, 2011. Among the 1235 candidates identified by Kepler planets in early 2011, 68 are about the size of the Earth, 288 are super-Earth, 662 are about the size of Neptune, 165 are about the size of Jupiter and 19 are larger than Jupiter. 54 new planets in the habitable zone 5 which, in size of the Earth. The 49 remaining candidates in the habitable zone, are super-Earths, 2 times the size of the Earth at a height greater than that of Jupiter. These conclusions are based on the results of observations made between May 12 and September 17, 2009, over 156,000 stars in the Kepler field of view.
This covers only about 1/400 of the sky.
"This large number of planets discovered, in a short time and a tiny fraction of the sky, shows that there must be countless planets orbiting Sun-like stars in our galaxy."
Said William Borucki of Ames Research Center of NASA in Moffett Field, California.
"We went from zero to 68 planets the size of the Earth and from zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone, some of which may have moons and liquid water."
The results of Kepler were published in February in the journal Nature. Six planets are orbiting Kepler 11, a star very similar to the sun being at about 2,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.
This discovery, due to the data of exoplanet hunter NASA's Kepler, Kepler's is 11, the system Exoplanetary the most comprehensive to date. 6 inner planets are mixtures of rock and gas, which may include water. The rock materials are the mass of the planets, while the gas occupies most of their volume.
The Kepler space telescope, looking for signatures of planets by measuring the slight decrease in the brightness of stars caused by planets passing in front of the star (mini eclipse). This is called a transit.
Transits of planets in the habitable zone of stars like the Sun, occurring about once a year and it takes three transits to check it, so it takes 3 years of observation for planets the size of Earth.
The scientific team also uses Kepler, ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe planetary candidates.
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Image: All the planets orbit Kepler-11 are larger than the Earth, comparable in size to Uranus and Neptune.
The closest planet, Kepler-11b, is ten times closer to its star than Earth.
The other planets are Kepler-11c, 11d, Kepler, Kepler-11th, Kepler-11E, and the outermost planet, Kepler-11g, is only half as far from its star than Earth.