Free and open to the public. Please register online at mountcuba org



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Free and open to the public.  

Please register online at mountcuba.org

Sponsored by Delaware Asteroseismic Research Center at UD (www.physics.udel.edu/darc)  

and Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory (mountcuba.org)

2015 HARCOURT C. “ACE” VERNON MEMORIAL LECTURE

Wednesday, October 14, 2015  |  7:30 PM  |  Clayton Hall Conference Center

It’s astronomy’s biggest question. NASA’s Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, 

has found thousands of planets, some like Earth. Kepler scientist Fergal Mullally 

will introduce you to how the spacecraft sleuths out planets, introduce some of 

its most exciting discoveries, and discuss future missions that will help us 

finally understand whether we are truly alone in the universe.



Chasing Shadows

   Searching for Earth-size Planets  

with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope

Fergal Mullally

  

Kepler Science Officer, 

The SETI Institute and  

NASA Ames Research Center

Is Earth the only planet  

in the universe that supports life?

    This artist’s conception depicts the Kepler-10  

star system, located about 560 light-years away. 

Kepler-10b—to date, the smallest known planet 

outside our solar system (dark spot against yellow sun)—

has a radius of 1.4 times that of Earth’s. In May 2010, the 

Kepler team announced another member of the Kepler-10 family, 

called Kepler-10c (larger foreground object). It’s bigger than Kepler-10b 

with a radius of 2.2 times that of Earth’s, and it orbits the star every 45 days. 

Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech


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Learn more: 

Delaware Asteroseismic  

Research Center at UD 

www.physics.udel.edu/darc



Mount Cuba Astronomical Observatory 

mountcuba.org



Kepler-20e and f: Earth-Class Planets Line-Up

This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-

like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus. NASA’s 

Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e 

and Kepler-20f. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus with a radius 

.87 times that of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth at 1.03 times 

the radius of Earth. Venus is very similar in size to Earth, with a radius 

of .95 times that our planet. Prior to this discovery, the smallest known 

planet orbiting a sun-like star was Kepler-10b with a radius of 1.42 that 

of Earth, which translates to 2.9 times the volume. 

Both Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f circle in close to their star, called 

Kepler-20, with orbital periods of 6.1 and 19.6 days, respectively. 

Astronomers say the two little planets are rocky like Earth but with 

scorching temperatures. 

There are three other larger, likely gaseous planets also known to circle 

the same star, known as Kepler-20b, Kepler-20c and Kepler-20d.



Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech



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