The discovery of 1284 new exoplanets made by the Kepler space observatory was confirmed by open source software. Kepler is producing so many exoplanet candidates that astronomers have a hard time confirming them all. How could so many candidates be confirmed in one batch? With new open source software, VESPA, written by Timothy D. Morton. Now we know of more than 3,400 exoplanets.
ArXive.org: False positive probabilties for all Kepler Objects of Interest
Princeton University: More than 1,200 new planets confirmed using new technique
Astronomy Now: NASA’s Kepler mission announces largest collection of exoplanets ever discovered
Astrobites.org: The gruntwork behind Kepler’s new batch of exoplanets
NASA: Kepler | New World Atlas
Wikipedia: Kepler | Exoplanet
More exoplanets: Exoplanet.eu | Habitable Exoplanets Catalog | Open Exoplanet Catalogue
Astronomers are looking at the star KIC 8462852 after it was brought to their attention when people at PlanetHunters were labeling it “bizarre” and “curious”. The data comes from the Kepler space observatory that was studying the area for about four years. Kepler is no longer fully operational but there still a lot of data collected to go through. One likely explanation for the unusual readings could be massive clouds of comets orbiting this star. Another explanation could be megastructures built by an alien civilization. This star, also known as TYC 3162-665-1, is found 1481 light years away in the Cygnus constellation.
The Atlantic: The most mysterious star
New Scientist: Cloud of comets orbiting distant star
Popular Science: Megastructures built by aliens?
Independent: Astronomers may have found alien megastructures
Tabetha Boyajian @ ArXiv: KIC 8462852 – Where is the flux?
Jason Wright’s blog: AstroWright
Phil Plait @ Slate: Did Astronomers Find Evidence of an Alien Civilization?
Berkeley SETI Research Center
Green Bank Telescope
Reddit: SETI researchers set to examine KIC 8462852
Wikipedia: KIC 8462852 | Kepler | PlanetHunters | Green Bank Telescope | Dyson sphere
The Kepler space telescope has been a success. But it hasn’t been fully functional for almost two years. This is what will be used next to find exoplanets:
Plato – Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars. Planned by ESA to be launched in 2016.
Plato website | Wikipedia
TESS – Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. To be launched in August, 2017 by SpaceX as part of NASA‘s Explorers program. The project is lead by MIT.
TESS webpage | Wikipedia
CHEOPS – CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite. Planned by ESA to be launched in 2017.
CHEOPS website | Wikipedia
This is the score so far for interesting planets:
Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-CalTech/R. Hurt