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  • Writer's pictureArnav Kapoor

The Kepler Telescope

NASA launched the Kepler telescope into space in 2009 to search for planets that were habitable like Earth in the Milky Way galaxy - “Exoplanets”. It is named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler who was best known for his laws of planetary motion. The Kepler telescope has 2662 exoplanets from 5,30,506 planets in the Milky Way. The Kepler telescope uses a transit method to find exoplanets which means that when a planet passes from the front of the star, the light of the star dims indicating the presence of a planet. The planets orbiting near a host star at a safe distance were said to be in the habitable zone or the Goldilock zone.

A picture of the Kepler Telescope in space

In 2014, an exoplanet named the “Kepler-186f” was discovered which was 500 light-years away from Earth and is said to have seasons and climate similar to Earth. In 2015, scientists discovered the “k2-18b” planet which had signs of water on its surface and is 124 light-years away from Earth. It is larger than Earth and it orbits around a red dwarf star. Another exoplanet is the “Kepler 16b” which orbited around a binary star like Tatooine, the home planet of Luke Skywalker seen in Star Wars movies. The Kepler telescope has also discovered the “Kepler-10b” which is a scorchy, rocky exoplanet 560 light-years away from the Earth. The smallest alien planet was named the “Kepler-37b” and orbits its host star every 13 days.

The Kepler Telescope found many planets containing gases. One of them is the “KOI-5Ab” but scientists were not sure of its existence. Later, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was able to confirm its existence and that it had a multi-star system. The great Kepler Telescope was finally retired in 2018 as it ran out of fuel. The main reason for sending Kepler into space was to know if we are alone in the universe. It has been an epically great part of astronomy and tells us if there is a possibility of the Earth getting invaded by aliens.

A picture of the exoplanet KOI - 5ab

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