Artist depiction of Kepler-11, that is a sun-like star around which six planets orbit. Observed by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft on Aug. 26, 2010. Credit: NASA/Tim Pyle

Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Kepler’s only instrument is a photometer that continually monitors the brightness of over 145,000main sequence stars in a fixed field of view.The data is then analyzed on Earthto detect periodic dimming caused by extrasolar planets that cross in front of their host star.

SETI talks presents Dr. Bill Borucki, who is the principal investigator and head of the Kepler Mission to find ‘exoplanets’ around other stars. Kepler was launched in 2009 and is currently in an Earth trailing orbit. It detects exoplanets by looking for small but regular decreases in the brightness of stars. On April 4, NASA awarded the Kepler team funding for an extended mission to carry the spacecraft through to 2016. Dr. Borucki will talk about the origins of the Kepler Mission, it’s current achievements, and what lies in store for the future of Kepler.