NASA’s Kepler Telescope discovers 715 new planets

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

Wow.  715 new planets have been discovered, orbiting around 305 stars! NASA announced today that its space telescope Kepler, which was launched in 2009, used a statistical technique to verify that these were planets and not stars, which is important since the telescope has been observing 150,000 stars. Four of the planets are even close to Earth in size and are located at the right distance from their star to be habitable if they contained liquid water.

It’s crazy that about 20 years ago, we did not know of any planets outside our solar system, and now we have discovered almost 1,700 outside our solar system!

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-mission-announces-a-planet-bonanza

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.