2013 Jan 7. 2,740 Kepler Planet Candidates, a Family Portrait Poster
Kepler Mission Planet Candidates. Download High Res version (13 Mb pdf) or Print version (30 Mb pdf). Originally this is the front of a poster prepared for Transit of Venus 2012 June 6 event 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 and artist Wendy Stenzel 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.