In this intriguing presentation, Martin Still describes the latest scientific data obtained from Kepler, the space observatory launched by NASA on 2009 to discover extra-solar planets. He explains the challenge of planet detection, based on transit signals tracked by Kepler according to size and orbit length. Still walks the audience through the concepts of planet occurrence (as a function of planet size), evaporating planets, principles of planet mass and density measurement, and the existence of binary solar systems. Apart from these and other amazing discoveries originating from its extensive data base, the instrument has revealed over 3554 planet candidates, all from a diverse range of star systems. Multi-planet arrays like our own are common, and habitable, rocky, earth-sized equivalents exist frequently. Further extensive research, adequate planet characterization, and elimination of false positives is essential, Still insists. Nonetheless, he anticipates quests into yet unexplored areas, where more “Earth-analogues” can be found.
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Universidad Francisco Marroquín