6 August 2009: Kepler Space Telescope is flawless so far, discovers atmosphere around HAT-P-7b

Friday, August 07, 2009

Two articles on Kepler's first few days can be seen here and here.

HAT-P-7b is a hot Jupiter that was first discovered last year, and was used during Kepler's first ten days in order to test out the instruments. The results were great, as the telescope was able to notice not just the dip in light as it passed in front of its star, but also the difference in light as the planet passed behind its star, since the system is a wee bit darker when the planet passes behind and its reflected light isn't able to be seen.

So, no new information on other planets but at least we know that Kepler is working perfectly. The Space.com article mentions that it will take 3+ years to detect a planet like ours considering discoveries by the telescope will not be announced until three passes are confirmed, but don't forget that there will be Earth-like planets around smaller stars and thus with shorter orbital periods that will be discovered well before then. I'm confident that we will have our first Earth-like extrasolar planet discovery either within this year or the next, no later.

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