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NASA : Astronomers Discover Transiting Exoplanet with Longest Known Year
This artist's conception shows Kepler-421b, a
Uranus-sized transiting exoplanet with the longest known year, circling its star
once every 704 days. Kepler-421b orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler
and dimmer than our sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the
Harvard-Smithsonian, Center for Astrophysics/D. A.
Astronomers using NASA Kepler data have discovered a transiting exoplanet
with the longest known year. Kepler-421b orbits its star once every 704 days. In
comparison, Mars orbits our sun once every 780 days. Most of the more than 1,800
confirmed exoplanets discovered to date are much closer to their stars and have
much shorter orbital periods.
"Finding Kepler-421b was a stroke of luck," says lead author David Kipping of
the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "The farther a planet is from
its star, the less likely it is to transit the star from Earth's point of view.
It has to line up just right."
Kepler-421b orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler and dimmer than our
sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation
The newly confirmed world circles the star at a distance of about 110 million
miles. As a result, this Uranus-sized planet is chilled to a temperature of -135
degrees Fahrenheit (-93 degrees Celsius).
NASA's Ames Research Center is responsible for the Kepler mission concept,
ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the
Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for
Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The
Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes
Kepler science data.
Kepler is NASA's 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency's
Science Mission Directorate.