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Hunting Planets

NASA's Kepler mission lets us search for planets orbiting stars outside our solar system.
Publish Date: Topic: Space + FlightSpace & FlightNova

The hunt is on for Earthlike planets outside our solar system that may harbor life. Astronomer Geoff Marcy explains the challenges of finding infinitesimally small planets orbiting huge, very bright stars. By monitoring the light from distant stars, sensitive instruments can detect the very slight dimming that occurs when objects, such as orbiting planets, pass in front of them.

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Additional funding for "Finding Life Beyond Earth" is provided by Millicent Bell, through the Millicent and Eugene Bell Foundation.

Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.