Planetary Peekaboo

Astronomers aren’t playing games when it comes to spotting an exoEarth

By Nadia Drake, 11:52 AM September 6, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — On a bright June evening, residents of Anchorage packed the theater in Cyrano’s Off-Center Playhouse, ready to sample some otherworldly dispatches.

The messages were beamed to Earth by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which circles the sun spying on planets orbiting distant stars. Planet-hunting members of the mission’s science team, in town for an American Astronomical Society meeting, served as translators for the evening, telling tales of far-off worlds that put a twinkle in...

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