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NASA Released Kepler Space Telescope Raw Data Regarding TRAPPIST-1 System

First Posted: Mar 13, 2017 06:40 AM EDT
TRAPPIST-1 System
Pixelated and not so animated footage of the TRAPPIST-1 system is released for public viewing.
(Photo : NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube screenshot)

Ever since NASA confirmed the discovery of seven Earth-like planets in the TRAPPIST 1 system, scientists across the globe are trying to study the various aspects of these newfound dwarf star and its orbiting planets. While NASA is keeping a close watch on the star itself, primarily with the help of the Kepler space telescope, it seems NASA is also encouraging other civilian scientists to join in.

The knowledge of common public and scientists not working in NASA, regarding the TRAPPIST-1 system is limited to the theoretical information and animated representations of the star system. However, many experts believe that access to raw data (at least some of it) could significantly help in igniting common interest and planning of future exploration projects. Going down the lane, NASA has released the pixelated raw data of the Kepler space telescope's view of the TRAPPIST-1 star, Zee News reported.

On Feb. 22, the Kepler space telescope captured an up-close view of the TRAPPIST-1 star and not so clear image of its orbiting exoplanets. The only hint of the exoplanets is the slight decrease in the brightness of the star, when an exoplanet crosses it. The American space agency proposes that orbiting planets obstruct the passage of a tiny fraction of the total amount of light emitted by the star, which can only be observed with the help of a highly powerful space telescope.

Geert Barentsen, NASA K2 scientist, said, "Providing the K2 raw data as quickly as possible was a priority to give investigators an early look so they could best define their follow-up research plans." According to Futurism, the access to such highly refined data will help in the conceptualization of new research programs that can help in improving human's present understanding of the basic principles that govern the existence of stars and solar systems.

Nonetheless, the data will help in improving mankind's understanding of these Earth like exoplanets and find out how much similar or dissimilar they are from Earth. Speaking in behalf of the NASA officials, Barentsen commented, "We're thrilled that this will also allow the public to witness the process of discovery."

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