Kepler's Planet Candidates: A Family Portrait
This is a graphic of 2,740 stars which have candidate planets in transit. The planets are small black disks against the bright disk of each star. Using the prolific planet hunting Kepler spacecraft, astronomers have discovered 2.740 planet candidates orbiting other suns since the Kepler mission's search for Earth-like worlds began in 2009. To find them, Kepler monitors a rich star field to identify planetary transits by the slight dimming of starlight caused by a planet crossing the face of its parent star. In this remarkable illustration created by Jason Rowe of NASA's Kepler Science Team, all of Kepler's planet candidates are shown in transit with their parent stars ordered by size from top left to bottom right. Simulated stellar disks and the silhouettes of transiting planets are all shown at the same relative scale, with saturated star colors. Of course, some stars show more than one planet in transit, but you may have to examine the picture at high resolution to spot them all. For reference, the Sun is shown at the same scale, by itself below the top row on the right. In silhouette against the Sun's disk, both Jupiter and Earth are in transit.
Planet Candidates — The Science Story
On February 1, 2011, BIll Borucki, Kepler's Principal Investigator, announced 1,235 planet candidates found in the first four months of Kepler observations. Prior to his announcement, about 500 exoplanets had been discovered by astronomers using all methods. Link to the press conference, announcement, and scientific publication in NASA Kepler News.
For the record: Prior Kepler Planet Candidates Catalog (the 1,235 candidates from 2011 April 19):
tab-delimited (Plain Text, 138 KB) --||-- spreadsheet (XLS, 374 KB) --||-- machine-readable (Plain Text, 213 KB)
Properties of Host Stars: machine-readable (Plain Text, 71 KB)
False Positives (Plain Text, 62 KB) - Table 4 of Data Release paper, with explanation (Plain Text, 2 KB).
2012 Feb 27:
Kepler Planet Candidates Catalog (machine readable files, updated 2012 Feb 27):False Positives list at MAST.
Planet Candidates in Motion — The Kepler Planet Orrery
An orrery is a moving model of a planetary system. Daniel Fabrycky, University of California at Santa Cruz, created two animated orrerys to display the candidate planets in multiple planet systems.
The Kepler Planet Orrery displays is an animation of all the multiple-planet candidate systems discovered, moving in orbit about their stars. Orbits go through the entire mission (3.5 years). Hot colors to cool colors (red to yellow to green to cyan to blue to gray) are big planets to smaller planets, relative to the other planets in the system.
The Kepler Planet Candidate Orrery of Small Orbits shows multiple-planet candidate systems discovered. These planets are much closer to their stars than Mercury to the Sun (0.387 AU on average) with outer planet candidate's distance less than 0.17 AU. (1 AU = distance from the Sun to the Earth.) The details of these compact systems are displayed. Orbits go through the first five months of Kepler observations. Hot colors to cool colors (red to yellow to green to cyan to blue to gray) are big planets to smaller planets, relative to the other planets in the system.
Kepler Exoplanet Candidates from blprnt on Vimeo.
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