NASA Discovers Whopping Number of 715 New Planets Outside Solar System, Four Described as ‘Habitable’
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 28, 2014 12:42 PM EST
NASA and its Kepler space telescope has discovered a whopping number of 715 new planets outside our own solar system.
Orbiting around 305 different stars, the planets were described as having the sizes of between Earth and Neptune, and were in close orbit to their parent stars.
Artist's concept of NASA's Kepler space telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
But only four out of the 715 planets were found to be "habitable" or sustainable. They range from 2 to 2.5 times the size of Earth.
The US space agency said most of the new discoveries were in "multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system."
One of the habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star that is five per cent as bright as and half the size of our sun. It could either simply be a gas planet, or a water world covered entirely by oceans, scientists said.
The new list of planets were culled based on the Kepler space telescope's first two years into the mission. NASA analyzed data collected from May 2009 to March 2011 of stars that appear to be circled by multiple exoplanet candidates and identified patterns for several planets orbiting a single star.
"This is the largest windfall of planets, not candidates that has ever been announced at one time," Douglas Hudgins, exoplanet exploration scientist for NASA's astrophysics division, said.
"These results establish that planetary systems like our own solar system are in fact common."
Jason Rowe, research scientist at SETI Institute and co-leader of the research, said they learned that planets in these multi-systems were small and their orbits were flat and circular, "resembling pancakes, not your classical view of an atom."
"The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home."
Launched in 2009, Kepler has identified more than 3,600 planet candidates. The latest batch of discoveries brings the total number of known exoplanets to 1,700.
Video Source: YouTube/The Cosmos News
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Derek Jeter With The New York Yankees Through The Years [IN PICTURES]
- George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin's Wedding In Venice: Photos Of Groom And His Family, Friends [Slideshow]
- NFL Recap - Week 4: Green Bay Packers 38, Chicago Bears 17 [PHOTOS]
- Melanoma Could Be Caused By Ageing Genes; Best Diet For Anti-Ageing; Celebrities Who Have Aged Gracefully
Join the Conversation
- Complex Alien Molecule May Offer Hints At Origin Of Life
- Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak: New York Scientists Unveil A Cloaking Device [Watch Video]
- Boy Bitten By A Snake During A Visit To The Botanical Garden In Melbourne
- Eerie Reddish Glow Of October 8 Total Lunar Eclipse – Astronomer Reminds Aussies To Enjoy Photo Opp
- Australia's Rising Temperatures Have 'Definite' Links To Global Warming
- Forget Nexus 6 Release Date, Android Phones Will Soon Showcase Pure Google Apps & Features
- Galaxy Note 4 Pre Order Starts in the US, Get Samsung Note Ahead of October 14 Release
- $249.99 Motorola Moto 360 Smartwatch's First Promo Out; 'Stone Leather' Replaces 'Gray Leather' - Available In BestBuy [Watch Video]
- BlackBerry Passport Sold Out As Preorders Reached 200,000
- iPhone 6 vs Moto G 2014: Motorola’s Budget Smartphone Takes On Apple’s Premium Smartphone
- iOS 8 And iOS 8.0.2 Security Flaw Revealed, Anyone Can Easily Bypass Touch ID And Passcode Security Features
- Australia Cracks Down On International Money Laundering Syndicate