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published by the NASA Ames Research Center
NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 with the focused goal of surveying regions of the Milky Way Galaxy to discover Earth-size planets. The spacecraft's detection instrument is a photometer that continually monitors 145,000 stars to locate exoplanets in the "habitable zone" of a star, where liquid water and possibly life might exist.

The website tracks information about mission results, with more than 2,000 candidates identified after the first year's operation. Of those, two Earth-size candidates have been confirmed as of January, 2012. Educators will also find classroom activities, interactive resources, simple animations showing how the detection system works, and galleries of photos, videos and 3D images.

Editor's Note: The Kepler Mission employs the Transit Method of exoplanet detection. The spacecraft's photometer observes repeated transits of planets in front of their stars, which causes a detectible reduction in the star's brightness. See Related Materials for an animation that will help students understand the Transit Method.

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Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Exoplanets
= Detection Methods
= Properties
- Fundamentals
= Spectra
- Instrumentation
= Detectors
Classical Mechanics
- Gravity
= Orbits
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Keywords:
Kepler telescope, exoplanet detection, extrasolar planets, photometer, transit method
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created January 27, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
May 27, 2012 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 31, 2011

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.

4. The Physical Setting

4A. The Universe
  • 9-12: 4A/H1a. The stars differ from each other in size, temperature, and age, but they appear to be made up of the same elements found on earth and behave according to the same physical principles.
  • 9-12: 4A/H1b. Unlike the sun, most stars are in systems of two or more stars orbiting around one another.
  • 9-12: 4A/H2ef. Eventually, some stars exploded, producing clouds containing heavy elements from which other stars and planets orbiting them could later condense. The process of star formation and destruction continues.
  • 9-12: 4A/H3. Increasingly sophisticated technology is used to learn about the universe. Visual, radio, and X-ray telescopes collect information from across the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves; computers handle data and complicated computations to interpret them; space probes send back data and materials from remote parts of the solar system; and accelerators give subatomic particles energies that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.
  • 9-12: 4A/H4. Mathematical models and computer simulations are used in studying evidence from many sources in order to form a scientific account of the universe.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Astronomy
Unit Title: Astronomy: Special K-12 Collections

NASA's Kepler Mission was launched in 2009 with the focused goal of surveying regions of the Milky Way Galaxy to discover Earth-size planets in the "habitable zone" of a star, where liquid water and possibly life might exist. You'll find classroom activities, interactive resources, simple animations showing how the detection system works, and galleries of photos, videos and 3D images.

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AIP Format
(NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, 2009), WWW Document, (http://kepler.nasa.gov/).
AJP/PRST-PER
Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets, (NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, 2009), <http://kepler.nasa.gov/>.
APA Format
Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets. (2011, December 31). Retrieved October 24, 2014, from NASA Ames Research Center: http://kepler.nasa.gov/
Chicago Format
NASA Ames Research Center. Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets. Moffett Field: NASA Ames Research Center, December 31, 2011. http://kepler.nasa.gov/ (accessed 24 October 2014).
MLA Format
Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets. Moffett Field: NASA Ames Research Center, 2009. 31 Dec. 2011. 24 Oct. 2014 <http://kepler.nasa.gov/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets}, Publisher = {NASA Ames Research Center}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {24 October 2014}, Month = {December 31, 2011}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%T Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets
%D December 31, 2011
%I NASA Ames Research Center
%C Moffett Field
%U http://kepler.nasa.gov/
%O video/quicktime

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D December 31, 2011
%T Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets
%I NASA Ames Research Center
%V 2014
%N 24 October 2014
%8 December 31, 2011
%9 video/quicktime
%U http://kepler.nasa.gov/


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Kepler: A Search for Habitable Planets:

Is Supplemented By Kepler Animations: Transit Graph

This animated Transit Graph shows the changes in a star's brightness as a virtual exoplanet travels in an orbit between the star and an observer in space.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Associated With NASA Johnson Space Center: Modeling the Solar System

This learning module from NASA for grades 5-8 investigates orbital motion, relative sizes, and characteristics of planet surfaces that make them able to support life.

relation by Caroline Hall

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