The Kepler Space Telescope is a diligent planetary hunter: It has already detected more than 2,500 exoplanets. And a solar system in which, like ours, eight planets orbit around a sun. But Kepler’s time has passed.
For nine years, the space telescope named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler has been detecting distant planets: more than 5,000 planet candidates are displayed on the Kepler website of NASA. Of these, more than 2,500 have been classified as true planets to date.
Kepler’s latest big discovery: The hot guy Kepler-90i. On its surface, temperatures of more than 420 degrees Celsius prevail. More than 2,500 light-years away from Earth, the planet, together with seven others, orbits the Kepler-90 star.
In December 2017, another one was discovered in addition to our solar system, in which eight planets orbit a sun.
Kepler’s tank is almost empty
The space telescope Kepler is still busy, but its mission will soon be over.
Kepler simply runs out of fuel: “Our current estimates are that the tank will be empty within a few months – but we have been surprised in the past by the performance of Kepler,” NASA engineer Charlie Sobeck said in mid-March 2018. “So we expect the mission to end soon, but we are prepared to continue as long as the fuel allows.” Until then, as much data as possible should be collected and sent to Earth.