New Planetary Discovery Demonstrates Fascinating Diversity

Article ID: 628052

Released: 7-Jan-2015 11:15 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Cornell University

Expert Pitch

Lisa Kaltenegger is a professor of astronomy at Cornell University and director of the Institute for Pale Blue Dots. She comments on this week’s announcement of eight new potentially habitable planets discovered using NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

She says:

“This announcement is important because it shows that we are finding many planets in the Habitable Zone around other stars. Now that we are probing the entire Habitable Zone around cool stars, we are starting to see the fascinating diversity of such potential Earths.

"Which of these exciting planets is most Earth-like we cannot say yet, because we do not know whether something is a 'better' Earth because it is closer to the size of Earth or the distance of Earth to the Sun. It depends on many factors, like whether the planet has water and other things necessary for life. That is what we'll probe with the next generation of telescope, which can show us the spectral light fingerprint of a planet's atmosphere. That fingerprint will tell us which planet is closer to our Pale Blue Dot."

For more information about the Institute for Pale Blue Dots: http://instituteforpalebluedots.com

For interviews contact:Syl Kacapyr(607) 255-7701vpk6@cornell.edu

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.


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