Astronomers to Reveal New Star Discoveries From Planet-Hunting Spacecraft
An artist's interpretation of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler observatory in space.
Credit: NASA.

Astronomers will hold a press conference Tuesday (Oct. 26) to discuss new discoveries about stars made using data from NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft.

The Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium (KASC) at Aarhus University in Denmark will conduct the teleconference with reporters at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) on Tuesday.

Kepler was launched in March 2009 to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. So far, it has identified at least 700 "candidate stars" that could harbor alien planets. If confirmed, these new worlds would more than double the known number of extrasolar planets.

But Kepler is a multipurpose instrument, and NASA and the KASC developed a joint collaboration to use the telescope to study stars.

The panelists participating in the conference call will be:

  • Natalie Batalha, professor of physics and astronomy, San Jose State University, Calif., and co-investigator on NASA's Kepler Mission
  • Hans Kjeldsen, associate professor, KASC, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Travis S. Metcalfe, scientist at The National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
  • Daniel Huber, Ph.D. student, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Thomas Kallinger, postdoctoral student, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Katrien Kolenberg, postdoctoral student, Institute of Astronomy in Vienna, Austria
  • Steven Bloemen, Ph.D. student, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

By studying the natural pulse of stellar light waves picked up by Kepler, the KASC team has examined and characterized thousands of stars, thereby gaining new insights into stellar structure and evolution, researchers said.