.@UBC astronomy student Michelle Kunimoto has discovered 17 new planets, including a potentially habitable, Earth-sized world, by combing through data gathered by @NASA's #Kepler mission. https://t.co/AT0QitayYw pic.twitter.com/s3mIIbaYkL— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) February 29, 2020
"it's very exciting, given that so far there were only 15 small planets confirmed in the habitable zone, traced through the data of Kepler," explained Michelle commenting on his goal. The most interesting of the alien worlds discovered by the student is KIC-7340288 b, a rocky planet whose diameter is approximately 1.5 times that of the Earth. The planet has a year-long 142 days and a half, and orbiting its star at a distance only slightly larger than the orbit of Mercury in our Solar System. However, the planet is not scorching hot like Mercury because it receives from its star, about a third of the light that the Earth receives from the Sun, and therefore is located in an area with mild temperatures. This is a good target for further studies aimed to better reflect the characteristics.
UBC astronomy student finds 17 new possible planets, 1 may have water https://t.co/lUmnc3YURp— CBC British Columbia (@cbcnewsbc) March 2, 2020
Among the other 16 planets discovered, the smallest has a diameter equal to about two-thirds that of the Earth, while the largest one is eight times bigger than the Earth. All the alien worlds have been identified with the method of transit: "Every time a planet passes in front of a star - said Kunimoto - blocks part of its light, causing a temporary reduction of the brightness of the star."
Thanks to these data, concluded the student that already in 2017, was distinguished for his studies of astrophysics, "you can put together the information on the planet, such as its size and the time it takes to orbit around the star."
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