The plane assembly's POV
Create a fist with one hand and call that a star. Then create a planet with the tip of your other index finger and orbit it around your fist at different distances and angles. You'll begin to understand the alignment issue. NASA says that "for Earth-size planets around sunlike stars, the chances of randomly oriented orbital planes being in the correct orientation for Kepler to see a transit is about 0.5 percent." Remember those low odds -- they'll be used to make a rather breathtaking point in an upcoming caption.
(By the way, the detailed areas called out in this image show a cluster of stars, called NGC 6791, and a star with a known planet called TrES-2 [circled in blue].)
May 19, 2013 12:01 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
| Caption by: Edward Moyer
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