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Kepler Eyes Cluster and Known Planet
04.16.09
 
Kepler's full field of view

This image from NASA's Kepler mission shows the telescope's full field of view -- an expansive star-rich patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra stretching across 100 square degrees, or the equivalent of two side-by-side dips of the Big Dipper.

A cluster of stars, called NGC 6791, and a star with a known planet, called TrES-2, are outlined. The cluster is eight billion years old, and located 13,000 light-years from Earth. It is called an open cluster because its stars are loosely bound and have started to spread out. TrES-2 is a hot Jupiter-like planet known to cross in front of, or transit, its star every 2.5 days. Kepler will hunt for transiting planets that are as small as Earth.

Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

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