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The Kepler mission will search for habitable planets, and determine their absolute sizes.
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NASA

Kepler Mission - a search for habitable planets

NASA launched the Kepler satellite. This mission is trying to find Earth-like planets around Sun-like stars. It has a 0.95-m telescope and many digital cameras to watch 100,000 stars for 4-6 years.

Some planets will pass in front of their star. This will cause a brief drop in the amount of light. This will tell us the size of the planet compared to the star.

We do not always know the size of the star. So Kepler will look more closely at 512 stars at a time. It will look for pulsations. This will tell us the true size of the star. Then we can find the true size of the planet.

Last modified December 15, 2009 by Travis Metcalfe.

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