• Question: whats kepler 22b

    Asked by osman to Davie, James P, James V, Nuala on 4 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: James Verdon

      James Verdon answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      Hi osman,
      Kepler 22b is an extra-solar planet. That means that it is a planet that is in orbit around different star, not in orbit around our sun. It was first seen through the Hubble telescope. We noticed it because it happened to pass in front of its star while we were observing it. This meant that it blocked some of the light from that star, and so we were able to see it.

      Kepler 22b is interesting because it is smaller. Most of the extra-solar planets we have found are large, like Jupiter, because they are bigger and so easier to see. Kepler smaller, only 3 or 4 times the size of the earth I think. This means that, potentially, it might be a planet better suited for life.

    • Photo: James Pope

      James Pope answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      Hi osman,

      All I would add to James V’s answer is there is an online program getting people to search for these planets by looking for when they block light from other stars. The BBC Show Stargazing Live has all the details for this on it’s website.

    • Photo: Nuala Carson

      Nuala Carson answered on 6 Jul 2012:

      Hey osman,

      Thanks for asking this question. I dont really know much about the solar system so i cant comment, but i can learn from the other answers!