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Make-and-take Project Allows Kids to Spot Stars with Earth-like Planets!

Date: 04/17/2014
Category: Programming Ideas and Tips
By: Keliann LaConte


NASA’s Kepler space telescope been on a search for Earth-size planets, “exoplanets,” orbiting around other stars in our Milky Way galaxy. The Kepler Star Wheel shows where in the sky the Kepler telescope is pointing – along with the constellations of the night sky!  The Kepler Starwheel includes the sky positions of 17 naked-eye stars with exoplanets discovered (as of August 2012), shown as green circles.  A master for photocopying and assembly instructions are included, and can be downloaded through NASA Wavelength.

Kepler was used to discover, for the first time, an Earth-size planet that orbits its a star in what Goldilocks would refer to as not too hot, not too cold -- the "habitable zone." Known as Kepler-186f, the newly discovered planet orbits a star in the constellation Cygnus and is about about 500 light-years from Earth. The star is half the size and mass of the sun.

Due to a faulty wheel, Kepler is not currently performing science observations, but scientists continue to pore over the data it has collected over the past five years in space.  

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