This video can be downloaded from the Scientific Visualization Studio
A paper detailing the findings was published in The Astrophysical Journal on Dec. 13.
"Beyond the snow line, materials that were gaseous closer to the star condense into solid bodies, increasing the amount of material available to start the planet-building process," said Suzuki. "This is where we think planetary formation was most efficient, and it's also the region where microlensing is most sensitive."
NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), slated to launch in the mid-2020s, will conduct an extensive microlensing survey. Astronomers expect it will deliver mass and distance determinations of thousands of planets, completing the work begun by Kepler and providing the first galactic census of planetary properties.
NASA's Ames Research Center manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
WFIRST is managed at Goddard, with participation by JPL, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, also in Pasadena, and a science team comprising members from U.S. research institutions across the country.
For more information on how NASA’s Kepler is working with ground-based efforts, including the MOA and OGLE groups, to search for planets using microlensing, please visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/kepler/searching-for-far-out-and-wandering-worlds/
By Francis Reddy
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
Editor: Karl Hille