In the Far Reaches of Space, the Kepler Telescope Discovers Five New Planets

These "Hot Planets" Closely Orbit Their Parent Stars

by Lucy Ji, age 13

William Borucki of the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California recently made a fascinating discovery. While using the powerful Kepler space telescope, Borucki and his team discovered five new and unusual planets orbiting nearby stars.

These planets are extremely hot because they are in very close proximity to their parent stars. Most of these planets can complete their orbits in just a few Earth days, making a year on those planets only a few days long.

These planets can reach scorching temperatures as high as 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit. Four of the planets are about 1.4 times the width of Jupiter, while the fifth planet is only three-fifths as wide.

Guided by the companion stars of planets and the light-bending eclipses of other stars, the Kepler telescope searches space and discovers new planets. The telescope can find stars as far away as 3,000 light years. That’s a radius of a quadrillion miles.

Although these planets cannot be searched for alien life because of their extreme heat, the team of scientists believes this powerful telescope will soon discover many more far off planets.

[Source: USA Today]

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