Click to enlarge. Image Source: Stellarium.
I have the free program Stellarium on my computer and set it to show the night sky on my computer while I am reading. I turned on the 'exoplanets' option and jumped! What are those alien green blobs? In the screenshot above, the green circular grid near Vega in the night sky shot for 4 May 2017 shows where the Kepler space telescope has focussed, with corresponding discoveries of exoplanets. They are marked as bright green dots. There is another cluster of exoplanets in the bottom corner in the constellation of Sagittarius, by the star Alnasl and the planet Saturn.
April 17, 2014. NASA's Kepler Telescope Discovers First Earth-Size Planet in 'Habitable Zone' pic.twitter.com/iE2k8LgVSy— History (@HistoryTime_) April 17, 2017
EVE Online crowdsources the search for distant planets using Kepler space telescope https://t.co/3ph1AcP7vb pic.twitter.com/mVpksOuwtQ— Neowin (@NeowinFeed) April 10, 2017
Launched in 2009, the Kepler space telescope trails Earth in a heliocentric orbit. NASA's Kepler and K2 projects have yielded several thousand exoplanets, of which 21 are almost habitable like Earth. A list of the projects' news releases is here. On 20 April 2017, the lead Kepler scientists were included among Time's 100 most influential individuals in the world:
Later in 2017, players of the MMPORG game, EVE Online, are participating in the crowd-sourced scientific discoveries of Kepler exoplanets. Raw Kepler data will be added to the game."Three extraordinary planet-hunters have been recognized by TIME Magazine as this year’s top 100 most influential people: Natalie Batalha from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; Michael Gillon from the University of Liège in Belgium; and Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the Queen Mary University in London.'It is truly exciting to see these planet-hunters among the other movers and the shakers of the world,' said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics division director at Headquarters in Washington. 'These scientists have transformed the world’s understanding of our place in the universe, and NASA congratulates them for their well-deserved recognition.'"
This painting shows where the Kepler telescope is aimed, at a section of the Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way. Image Source: Jon Lomberg/NASA via Wiki.
A planetary system that is 10.5 light-years away is remarkably similar to that of our solar system: https://t.co/DGD4uqxAhU #NASAbeyond pic.twitter.com/jLx1m5wxiH— SOFIAtelescope (@SOFIAtelescope) May 2, 2017
KEPLER 62 - Our New Home? Universe Sandbox 2 and Space Engine (June 2016). Video Source: Youtube. The exoplanet video game, Universe Sandbox 2, is here.
How might Exoplanet Kepler-186f look like? (January 2016). Video Source: Youtube.
Kepler-186f Sounds Detected (2014). Video Source: Youtube.
These Are The Sounds Of Kepler Planets 186-F And 62 (April 2016). Video Source: Youtube.