Kepler Transit Graph

December 29, 2009
CreditNASA Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
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The results from Kepler will come from measuring the brightness of the stars. The data will look like an EKG showing the heart beat. Whenever a planet passes in front of its parent star as viewed from our solar system it produces a tiny pulse or beat. From the repeated beats we can detect and confirm the existence of Earth-size planets and learn about the orbit and size of the planet. The scientific results from Kepler come in a different way than most astronomy missions. It will not produce pretty pictures or even colorful spectrograms, but rather light curves that take several years to gather.