Thursday, February 3, 2011

More about Kepler Worlds

Most of the news you will see is about the 6 planet system that NASA played up.  But they did find the earth-size planets in the habitable zone of the M dwarfs like I thought. The information about these has not yet been published as far as I can see, but has a preview of the forthcoming paper.  The best candidate is a .6 earth mass world (under reasonable assumptions based on it's radius being .89 earth radius) with an expected temperature of 332 Kelvin. That's 138 Farenheit-- a little hot, but these worlds are likely tidally locked, so have a side facing away from the sun which is much cooler.  So the twilight zone on the planet may actually be okay for earthlike life. That paper will also talk about many other planets in the habitable zones, including some gas giants.  If there is a way around the radiation problem, the moons of these worlds could, like Pandora or Endor, be habitable moons.
UPDATE: Here's the overview paper.
The planet discussed above is called KOI 326.01. KOI stands for Kepler Object of Interest.  326 is the number of the star, .01 means the first planet detected around that star.

This is the information about the star KOI 326:

Kepler object of interest #  326
Kepler Input Catalog #   9880467
Kepler magnitude    12.960
Photometric precision   189
Right ascension   19.11040
Declension    46.7835
stellar temperature   3240
log(gravity) of star  4.90
stellar radius    0.27
stellar mass    0.21

You can see that this star is about a quarter the size of the sun.  You can also see where it is in the sky. I'll have to look around to see if I can find the distance in light years.