Kepler Mission Developed by JPL Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered

first_imgHome of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy The image is a concept piece depicting select Kepler planetary discoveries made to date. Credits: NASA Ames/W. StenzelNASA’s Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets — the single largest finding of planets to date.“This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.”Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July 2015 planet candidate catalog, which identified 4,302 potential planets. For 1,284 of the candidates, the probability of being a planet is greater than 99 percent – the minimum required to earn the status of “planet.” An additional 1,327 candidates are more likely than not to be actual planets, but they do not meet the 99 percent threshold and will require additional study. The remaining 707 are more likely to be some other astrophysical phenomena. This analysis also validated 984 candidates that have previously been verified by other techniques.“Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy. Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars,” said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters. “This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe.”Kepler captures the discrete signals of distant planets – decreases in brightness that occur when planets pass in front of, or transit, their stars – much like the May 9 Mercury transit of our sun. Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system more than two decades ago, researchers have resorted to a laborious, one-by-one process of verifying suspected planets.This latest announcement, however, is based on a statistical analysis method that can be applied to many planet candidates simultaneously. Timothy Morton, associate research scholar at Princeton University in New Jersey and lead author of the scientific paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, employed a technique to assign each Kepler candidate a planet-hood probability percentage – the first such automated computation on this scale, as previous statistical techniques focused only on sub-groups within the greater list of planet candidates identified by Kepler.“Planet candidates can be thought of like bread crumbs,” said Morton. “If you drop a few large crumbs on the floor, you can pick them up one by one. But, if you spill a whole bag of tiny crumbs, you’re going to need a broom. This statistical analysis is our broom.”In the newly validated batch of planets, nearly 550 could be rocky planets like Earth based on size. Nine of these orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, which is the distance from a star where orbiting planets can have surface temperatures that allow liquid water to pool. With the addition of these nine, 21 exoplanets are now known to be members of this exclusive group.“They say not to count our chickens before they’re hatched, but that’s exactly what these results allow us to do based on probabilities that each egg (candidate) will hatch into a chick (bona fide planet),” said Natalie Batalha, co-author of the paper and the Kepler mission scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “This work will help Kepler reach its full potential by yielding a deeper understanding of the number of stars that harbor potentially habitable, Earth-size planets — a number that’s needed to design future missions to search for habitable environments and living worlds.”Of the nearly 5,000 total planet candidates found to date, more than 3,200 now have been verified, and 2,325 of these were discovered by Kepler.Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. For four years, Kepler monitored 150,000 stars in a single patch of sky, measuring the tiny, telltale dip in the brightness of a star that can be produced by a transiting planet. In 2018, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will use the same method to monitor 200,000 bright nearby stars and search for planets, focusing on Earth and Super-Earth-sized.Ames manages the Kepler missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system, with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/keplerFor briefing materials from Tuesday’s media teleconference where the new group of planets was announced, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/kepler/briefingmaterials160510 faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Community News Business News More Cool Stuff Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Your email address will not be published. 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Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Subscribe Top of the News Science and Technology Kepler Mission Developed by JPL Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered From STAFF REPORTS Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | 11:24 amlast_img read more

Hempton named Divinity School dean

first_imgHarvard University President Drew Faust announced today that David Hempton will become dean of Harvard Divinity School, effective July 1. Hempton, the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies at the Divinity School, succeeds William A. Graham, who last September announced his intention to step down from the post at the end of this academic year.“David Hempton is an internationally recognized historian of Christianity with an exceptionally distinguished scholarly record,” said Faust, in announcing the appointment. “His broad-ranging interests in religion, political culture, identity, and ethnic conflict, and the history and theology of Evangelical Protestantism make him particularly well-suited to advance the understanding of religion at Harvard and in this religiously pluralistic world. His incisive intellect and high-level engagement with both the scholarly and administrative issues at the School will serve him well as dean, and I am delighted that he has agreed to take on this leadership role.”“I am grateful to President Faust for this opportunity, and I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve as the next dean of the Harvard Divinity School,” said Hempton. “I look forward to working with colleagues at the Divinity School to build on the progress made over the last decade in expanding and strengthening the faculty across a range of fields and broadening the scope of the education offered. I also welcome the opportunity to engage with colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and across the University to improve Harvard’s approach to the study of religion at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to enliven our engagement with religious and ethical questions more broadly.”A prominent scholar focusing on global Christianity, Hempton is a native of Northern Ireland and former director of the School of History in the Queen’s University of Belfast. Hempton arrived at Harvard in 2007 from Boston University, where he was University Professor and professor of the history of Christianity. In 2008, he was named the Divinity’s School “Outstanding Teacher of the Year.”As director of the School of History in the Queen’s University of Belfast, Hempton had broad authority over budget and management, faculty recruitment and curriculum, and preparation for the national university research and teaching assessments. Hempton has also served as an external consultant for the Open University and the British Broadcasting Corp. in the design of multimedia course offerings in the history of Christianity.Hempton is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a former chairman of the Wiles Trust, founded in 1951 to promote innovative thinking on the history of civilization, broadly conceived. He has held fellowships from the Wolfson and Nuffield Foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been a visiting scholar at St. John’s College Oxford, and has delivered various endowed lectures, including the Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham (1994) and the F.D. Maurice Lectures at King’s College London (2000).Hempton is the author of many books and articles, including: “Methodism and Politics in British Society, 1750-1850” (Stanford University Press, 1984), winner of the Whitfield prize of the Royal Historical Society; “Methodism in Irish Society 1770-1830,” proxime accessit for the Alexander Medal of the Royal Historical Society (1986); (with Myrtle Hill) “Evangelical Protestantism in Ulster Society 1740-1890” (Routledge, 1992); “Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland: From the Glorious Revolution to the Decline of Empire” (Cambridge University Press, 1996), shortlisted for the Ewart-Biggs Memorial prize; “The Religion of the People: Methodism and Popular Religion c. 1750-1900” (Routledge, 1996); “Faith and Enlightenment” in the “New Oxford History of the British Isles” (OUP, 2002); “Methodism: Empire of the Spirit” (Yale University Press, 2005), winner of the Jesse Lee Prize; “Evangelical Disenchantment: Nine Portraits of Faith and Doubt” (Yale University Press, 2008); and “The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century” (I.B. Tauris, 2011).Having recently completed a study of global Christianity in the early modern period, he is currently engaged on a comparative study of secularization in Europe and America from the 18th century to the present.Hempton is married to Louanne Hempton, and has two grown children, Stephen and Jonney.last_img read more

Zachary Levi Gets Married In Secret Maui Ceremony!

first_img Star Files Wait, what? Excuse us?! Those first impressions must have been pretty damn strong. Screen star and Broadway cutie Zachary Levi got hitched in a secret ceremony in Maui, E! News confirms. The lucky lady? Actress Missy Peregrym, star of the ABC series Rookie Blue. View Comments The private couple revealed the news online, with Peregrym tweeting out a pic of the two in matching his and hers hoodies (the hottest newlywed item these days), saying “that coffee date was UNREAL.” Levi added, “these dreams and goals are really workin out.” The two enjoyed a long weekend in Hawaii with friends. Levi made his Broadway debut last year in the musical First Date as the naive and a-dork-able blind-dater Aaron. His screen credits include the NBC series Chuck, Thor: The Dark World and Tangled. Our congratulations to the newlyweds! We assume our top-secret invitation got lost in the mail. You’ve been here before, Levi, but just so you have it on hand: 729 7th Avenue Ave., New York, NY, 10019. Zachary Levilast_img read more

Angels acquire right-hander Parker Markel from Pirates

first_img Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error In the Angels’ first move of the offseason, they acquired right-handed reliever Parker Markel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.Markel, 29, had a 7.77 ERA in 20 games with the Pirates and Seattle Mariners this season. He struck out 24 and walked 17 in 22 innings.Markel relies on a slider and a fastball that averaged 95.6 mph. He has a well-above-average spin rate, which is likely one of the reasons the Angels are taking a low-risk shot at finding some upside.A former 39th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, Markel has a 3.81 ERA in 508 innings in the minors. Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Related Articlescenter_img Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone last_img read more