Kepler finds almost double the number of previously-discovered planets

In one truly amazing sweep, the Kepler Telescope has confirmed the existence of 715 new planets outside our Solar System, nearly doubling the previous findings of just over 1,000 “exoplanets” (some of which were also made by Kepler, earlier on).

This telescope is super-accurate, to the point where it can detect the existence of a planet just from the way it comes in between the star it orbits and the telescope, slightly blocking the light coming from hundreds of light years away.

Only four of the new planets could be “Goldilocks planets”, planets with radii of under 2.5 times that of the Earth, in the right orbit ‘zone’ around their star to catch enough light and heat without burning up all the water and air.

There’s still so much of the Universe for Kepler to look at, it seems possible that there might be life on at least one of the planets it discovers – doesn’t it?

[Original article on the BBC]

 

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