NASA's Kepler discovers almost 100 new exoplanets

Cesar Mills
February 19, 2018

"But we also detected planets that range from sub-Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger", Mayo said.

The work also involved colleagues from institutions such as NASA, Caltech, UC Berkeley, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Tokyo.

Between them, the Kepler and K2 missions have been used to find over 5,100 candidate exoplanets to date. This is the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions with a planet.

Kepler and its data have been instrumental in broadening our horizons as far as new planet discoveries go and ever since its launch in 2009, the spacecraft has been busy scanning and imaging the sky.

Kepler, which is now on the K2 mission to discover exoplanets, has found thousands of candidates since it was launched nearly a decade ago.

Of the 275 candidates, 149 were deemed to be actual exoplanets, of which 95 were new discoveries.

"We approved a planet on a 10-day circle around a star called HD 212657, which is presently the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to have an approved planet", Mayo said.

The 100 new planets were discovered by registering the dips in light caused when the planets cross in front of the host star.

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"Planets around brilliant stars are vital in light of the fact that space experts can take in a considerable measure about them from ground-based observatories".

Scientists have discovered almost 100 new "exoplanets" in the search for Earth-like planets that could support life. Four years after launch in 2013, Kepler was hit was a mechanical snag that crippled the telescope. The instrument was repurposed following that failure (and the new mission was named K2), changing the region of space it's observing every few months and picking up brighter and closer planets and stars.

The researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft. However, researchers must examine these dimming events closely to confirm that they are being caused by transiting exoplanets.

And with upcoming missions, such as the powerful James Webb Telescope and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, astronomers will be able to make unprecedented observations of these planets and identify which may be capable of supporting life, among other goals.

Astronomers had discovered the first exoplanet orbiting its parent star just like our Sun in 1995.

The search for new exoplanets is now one of the most exciting areas of space science, one that is providing fascinating insights into our universe.

Cosmologists poring through information accumulated amid Kepler's present broadened mission, known as K2, have spotted 95 more outsider planets, another investigation reports. "While Kepler gave us a broad overview of exoplanets, K2 is helping us dive much deeper", he added.

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