Kepler’s Orbit

December 29, 2009
CreditNASA Kepler Mission/Dana Berry
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Kepler does not orbit the Earth, rather it orbits the Sun in concert with the Earth, slowly drifting away from Earth. Every 61 Earth years, Kepler and Earth will pass by each other. Throughout the lifetime of the mission, Kepler will point at just one place on the sky in the Cygnus-Lyra constellations. Four times a year, the Kepler spacecraft will make a 90 degree roll about the optical axis to keep the solar array pointed at the Sun and the radiator that cools the detectors pointed to deep space.