5 accomplishments of the Kepler telescope

The Kepler, which launched in 2009, has run out of fuel.
The Kepler, which launched in 2009, has run out of fuel.
Artist's concept: NASA.
The Kepler Space Observatory is out of fuel and has been retired. But it will never be forgotten.

    The telescope is still in orbit, a safe distance from Earth, according to NASA. And while it will no longer produce eye-popping discoveries, the Kepler, which launched in 2009, made a lasting impact. The space telescope's data led to the discovery of more than 2,600 planets outside our solar system. Many are of interest to scientists looking for life forms.
    A robotic spacecraft, the Kepler took images of stars and captured planets as they transited in front of their respective stars, causing a dimming of the star’s light.
     Here are some examples of the findings made, thanks to Kepler.

1. So many potential homes: In a 2013 press conference, scientists announced that an analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data showed that 1-in-5 stars are orbited by Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone. A planet is in the habitable zone of its star if the temperature of that planet might be suitable for water.

2. Earth's cousin orbits a distant star: In 2014, scientists studying Kepler data announced that a planet about the size of Earth orbits the habitable zone of its star. It is 500 light-years away.

3. An exomoon: In 2017, researchers found possible evidence of a moon orbiting a distant planet.  The "exomoon candidate" orbits a planet in a solar system known as Kepler 1625, roughly 4,000 light-years away, scientists said.

4. More planets: Scientists announced during a press conference in 2017 that they had found 219 planet candidates, of which 10 could be habitable.

5. A solar system like ours: Researchers discovered a second eight-planet solar system. They made the finding using a computer taught to identify exoplanets in the light readings recorded by the Kepler. The 2017 finding was significant because scientists thought our sun had more planets in orbit than any other known solar system.


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