Bruce Murray Space Image Library
First Light for Kepler
Filed under pretty pictures, Kepler, extrasolar planets, many worlds
Taken on April 8, 2009, these are the first images taken by the planet-hunting mission Kepler. The large image in the center shows a 100 degree square patch of sky containing an estimated 14 million stars. Kepler will observe this region continuously for more than 3 years, searching for signs of transiting planets in a group 100,000 pre-selected stars. The dark lines crisscrossing the image indicate the arrangement of the charged coupled devices (CCD's) in Kepler's powerful camera). The top left image is of a region 1000 times smaller than the full field, which contains the known transiting planet TrES-2. The image on the top right includes star cluster NGC 6791, at a distance of 13,000 lightyears from Earth.
Original image data dated on or about April 8, 2009
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