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May 2013 issue of Science is bursting with exoplanets
05.03.2013

Personal Profile on William Borucki:
Mr. Borucki's Lonely Road to the Light - Science journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee traveled to Ames to spend the day with Bill to learn about the individual, steadfast in his mission in life. "The father of NASA's Kepler orbiting exoplanet finder had to pioneer new optical techniques and overcome decades of skepticism to get his pet project off the ground."

Kepler-62: A Five-Planet System with Planets of 1.4 and 1.6 Earth Radii in the Habitable Zone - Abstract: We present the detection of five planets—Kepler-62b, c, d, e, and f—of size 1.31, 0.54, 1.95, 1.61 and 1.41 Earth radii, orbiting a K2V star at periods of 5.7, 12.4, 18.2, 122.4, and 267.3 days, respectively. The outermost planets, Kepler-62e and -62f, are super–Earth-size (1.25 Earth radii < planet radius < 2.0 Earth radii) planets in the habitable zone of their host star, respectively receiving 1.2 ± 0.2 times and 0.41 ± 0.05 times the solar flux at Earth’s orbit. Theoretical models of Kepler-62e and -62f for a stellar age of ~7 billion years suggest that both planets could be solid, either with a rocky composition or composed of mostly solid water in their bulk.

Special Exoplanet Section

  • Introduction and historical perspective from the editors at Science:

  • A Gallery of Planet Hunters by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee and Daniel Clery. Science presents an overview of planet-hunting techniques and representative efforts for the nearly 900 confirmed exoplanets and the hundreds of fresh candidates that are turning up every month.

  • And a Glossary of Their Quarry by Lizzie Wade. Science presents an overview of planet-hunting techniques and representative efforts for the nearly 900 confirmed exoplanets and the hundreds of fresh candidates that are turning up every month. The A to Z of exoplanets.

  • Observed Properties of Extrasolar Planets by Andrew W. Howard. Measurements of the properties of extrasolar planets show that planetary systems are abundant yet diverse in their masses, sizes, and orbital architectures.

  • Exoplanet Habitability by Sara Seager. Because exoplanets are so diverse, exoplanetary habitability needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • A Gallery of Planet Hunters (slide show)

  • Cover This makes the second cover of Science related to the Kepler mission! Hats off to an incredibly gifted graphics artist, Tim Pyle, who continues to help ignite our collective curiosity about worlds we can only imagine today. [The first cover was the Kepler-9 System, 1 Oct 2010.]

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