NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope Poised for Amazing Discoveries

August 10, 2009

(ChattahBox)—NASA’s powerful Kepler telescope has embarked on an exciting 3½-year mission to search the Milky Way for planets the size of Earth orbiting distant stars. Since its launch on March 6, from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the telescope has already rewarded scientists with new details about a distant planet that orbits a star named, HAT P-7.

During a recent test of the Kepler’s capabilities, NASA scientists aimed its powerful lens towards a giant gas exoplanet that orbits HAT P-7 in a speedy 2.2 days. The telescope was able to provide precise measurements showing that the planet has an atmosphere and only reveals one side to the sun

The telescope recorded intense heat readings that jumped off the charts, at about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on one side of the planet and about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit on the opposite side.

The telescope was also able to detect changes in brightness, indicating the giant distant planet experiences different phases, similar to the moon.

NASA scientists are excited about the many more discoveries expected to be made in the future by the Kepler.

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