Kepler Space Telescope might confirm one of the KOI’s in the new year.
Kepler, the man, is no longer making revelations in the world of astronomy, and since early this year, Kepler, the telescope, will no longer be making revelations either for the foreseeable future. In its five years of work, the Kepler telescope has confirmed the existence of over 130 exoplanets, and discovered over 3,000 more that have yet to be confirmed. These as-yet-unconfirmed bodies are called ‘Kepler Objects of Interest’, or KOI’s.
Three such KOI’s are especially promising, KOI-4742.01, KOI-1686.01 and KOI-3010.01. Each has an ‘Earth Similarity Index’ greater than 0.85, which is higher than the highest current rating of 0.83, given to Kepler-62e. I hear that astronomers look for three good, solid, orbital periods of these exoplanet candidates before they can be considered ‘confirmed’. Since all three were discovered in 2012, if all the stars align we should be able to confirm this year? whether or not at least one of them exists.
Although already nine possible habitable worlds were confirmed thus far, they’re all so called super-earth’s: rocky planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. The three KOI’s listed above will therefore be, if confirmed, both the smallest and the most Earth-like exoplanets yet. On top of that, the following KOI’s, all of which have ESI’s greater than 0.75, were discovered between the years 2011 and 2012: KOI-463.0, KOI-812.03, KOI-2474.01, KOI-2418.01 and KOI-2469.01. And we have the two as-yet-unconfirmed super-earth’s Gliese 581 g and Tau Ceti e, both of which also have ESI’s greater than 0.75.
Based on these findings alone, 2014 should be an interesting year in astronomy. Now that NASA’s so often postponed Terrestrial Planet Finder mission has eventually been canceled, these new confirmations will have to do. I’m personally hoping for Earth 2.0 (or, at least, what will have to pass for one) to be discovered and published in 2014, as it may be one of the few uplifting things to occur among such doom-and-gloom as the Dollar collapse, WWIII, and possibly even the implementation of martial law in certain countries, as some people have predicted.
I certainly hope none of these catastrophes actually happen, but instead that 2014 will be the year when everyone becomes aware of global events, and takes the necessary steps against the unwanted ones.
Standing up for what’s right, and finding the next Earth: now there’s a new-year’s resolution I can get behind.
List of potentially habitable exoplanets
space, earth, ESI, NASA
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