• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Softball: Gauchos Split Final Road Games at Hawai'i https://t.co/CpEDdmmhVc
    6 hours 31 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gauchos are live on @ESPN3 ! WATCH >>> https://t.co/io6ZzYs9Hg https://t.co/BEO8wTxv62
    11 hours 37 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Congrats to Leah Foltz for winning the #UCSB Grad Slam! Now she moves onto the UC-wide competition in SF on May 4th! https://t.co/kVqCtOTWb7
    18 hours 31 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Former @UCSB_Baseball LHP Dom Mazza speaks with his hometown paper after throwing a perfecto this week! https://t.co/GPc3B3qL9g
    18 hours 51 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Watch pianist #MurrayPerahia's breathtaking and imaginative performance, tonight at 7PM at UCSB Campbell Hall!… https://t.co/M83EeA6Y53
    21 hours 36 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Softball: Hawai'i Tops UCSB 5-1 in Gauchos' Final Road Series Opener https://t.co/ejf0MWM1g0
    1 day 4 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Gauchos Sweep Past UCI 4-0 https://t.co/WFwbxDV8eA
    1 day 7 hours ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    We're happy to see you back, alumni! Don't miss the great events we have this weekend. #AllGauchoReunion… https://t.co/Sbz4iirr7i
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Women's Tennis: Cal Poly 0, UC Santa Barb. 4 (Final) No.2 UCSB blanks No.7 Cal Poly in Big West Quarterfinal 4-0 https://t.co/m4kdACQFo5
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    .@UCSB_Baseball vs. UC Riverside on @ESPN3 is live now! Watch here >>> https://t.co/QJMvNLa0mQ
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    WWP: Defending Big West Champs Defeated by No. 12 LBSU in Another Overtime Match https://t.co/XIO3RJdo9p
    1 day 11 hours ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Top-Seeded UCSB Set to Host Big West Golf Championship at Sandpiper GC https://t.co/SyXPKB2Ur5
    1 day 13 hours ago
  • UCSBLibrary twitter avatar
    RT @ForestSways: CEMA poster preservation for primary source research. #Chicanohertiage @Marikhasmanyan @UCSBLibrary #sca17 https://t.co/M…
    1 day 15 hours ago
  • UCSBLibrary twitter avatar
    @AmldavisAnn We're glad you're interested in using, please contact (805) 893-3062 or @library.ucsb.edu">special@library.ucsb.edu for m… https://t.co/fwAVOMoWyB
    1 day 15 hours ago
  • UCSB_GradPost twitter avatar
    CPT F-1 Visa workshop for international students on May 11 https://t.co/l6xZEndRVl #UCSB #ucsbgradpost
    1 day 15 hours ago

Multiple Planets Transiting Same Star Discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission

Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

2310-1.jpg

Artist's rendition of Kepler Spacecraft. credit: NASA/Kepler mission/Wendy Stenzel

Artist's rendition of Kepler Spacecraft. credit: NASA/Kepler mission/Wendy Stenzel

NASA has announced the discovery of two Saturn-size planets, as well as one likely Earth-size planet, all transiting a star called Kepler 9. This is the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet transiting the same star.

The observations are published in this week's Science, in an article co-authored by Tim Brown, a UC Santa Barbara-affiliated scientist. The measurements were made using NASA's Kepler spacecraft and were confirmed by the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

"This system of planets is a thrilling example of the Kepler mission's power," said Brown, scientific director of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Network, which is based in Goleta, Calif. and affiliated with UCSB.

"It is astounding that Kepler can show us, circling one star, a pair of planets that pull each other's orbits around, and also an object that is likely a planet not much bigger than the Earth," he said. "Rich systems like this one will be the best laboratories for understanding how planets form, and how planetary systems evolve."

The Kepler mission looks for the data signatures of planets by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars when planets transit or cross in front of them, according to NASA. In June of this year, mission scientists announced that the mission has identified more than 700 planet candidates, including five candidate systems that appear to have more than one transiting planet.

Launched in 2009, the Kepler space-borne telescope is designed to search the nearby region of our galaxy for planets the size of Earth, orbiting in the habitable zone of stars similar to our sun, explains NASA's Kepler Web site. Scientists describe the habitable zone as the region around a star where temperatures permit water to be liquid on a planet's surface.

NASA's Kepler Web site further notes that liquid water is considered essential for the existence of life as we know it. Therefore, the challenge for Kepler is to look at a large number of stars in order to statistically estimate the total number of Earth-size planets orbiting sun-like stars in the habitable zone. Kepler will survey more than 100,000 stars in our galaxy.

Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
Keppler Mission