May 15, 2013
New Kepler Book Outlines Distant Worlds That Really Exist
John P. Millis, Ph.D. for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Since its launch in 2009 the Kepler spacecraft has identified more than 2,500 planet candidates in our galaxy. Of these, several hundred have been confirmed as planets by ground based observatories.
The observatory operates by monitoring stars in our galactic neighborhood and watching for tiny dips in the observed brightness. As the dips are repeated over time, researchers can deduce the presence of planets and even constrain their size and orbital distance.
It is then up to ground based optical systems to search out these systems and, using spectroscopic measurements, make detailed measurements of these planets and confirm their presence.
As the search continues, researchers hope to eventually find an Earth-like world: a planet about the same size and composition as Earth that orbits its host star at just the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface. To date, no such planet has been found.
However, there have been other systems that have been discovered that have fascinated scientists. And it is in this spirit that a new work titled A Kepler´s Dozen: Thirteen Stories about Distant Worlds that Really Exist has been released.
The book details the scientific background about 13 of the planets that have been discovered by the landmark instrument. But more than simply pages of scientific fact, the text weaves in stories of science-fiction to bring the reader in.
For those captivated by the idea of worlds beyond our solar system, and the possibilities of life that lay upon them, then this is a must read book.