NASA’s Kepler telescope continues to identify planets that might support life elsewhere in the Universe. These worlds might appear to be somewhat abstract to the non-astronomers amongst us, so NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has attempted to make them more memorable by creating a series of vintage posters emphasising some of their weirder characteristics.
Kepler-186f for instance, was discovered last April. It is 500 light years from the Earth and slightly larger in size. A red dwarf star is nearby, which has influenced the artwork above.
Kepler-16b orbits a pair of giant stars. The NASA artist has depicted it as a rocky world, but it might also be a gas giant, like Saturn.
HD 40307g is eight times the size of the Earth and is situated 89.8 million kilometres from its Sun. It was discovered by astronomers using the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher) spectrograph at the European Southern Observatory. It is 42 light years away in the southern constellation Pictor. A super Earth is a term used to describe a planet larger than our own Earth, but smaller than a gas giant.
Originally published by Cosmos as Vintage posters highlight NASA’s exoplanet travelogue
Katherine Kizilos is a staff writer at Cosmos.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.