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NASA Announces Discovery of 715 New Planets
On Wednesday, NASA announced the discovery of 715 new planets, expanding our galaxy. According to NASA it’s the biggest batch of planets ever unveiled at once. In our galaxy about 1,000 planets total have been discovered before Wednesday by way of comparison.
NASA said, four of the planets discovered are what they’re calling the “habitable zone,” meaning it’s possible the planets can sustain life. They discovered the planets are orbiting 305 different stars. The planets were discovered using the Kepler space telescope, and by using a new technique, the planets were verified. Now scientist will expect new discoveries more frequently and with more detail.
“We’ve been able to open the bottleneck to access the mother lode and deliver to you more than 20 times as many planets as has ever been found and announced all at once,” said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
The Kepler space observatory was NASA’s first mission to discover planets that are similar to Earth that are in, or near, habitable zones. The data kept by Kepler’s two year mission, was verified on Tuesday, suggesting that there may be more discoveries on the way.
“Kepler has really been a game-changer for our understanding of the incredible diversity of planets and planetary systems in our galaxy,” said Douglas Hudgins, a scientist with NASA’s astrophysics division. Verification by multiplicity is the new technique and it relies in part on the logic of probability.
95 percent of the planets being discovered by Kepler are smaller than Neptune. One of the planets discovered in the habitable zone is twice the size of earth and it orbits a star half the size of our sun in a 30 day cycle. The other three planets are twice the size of earth. Scientist are hope the number of life sustaining planets will double when more data is received.
“The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home,” said Jason Rowe, a research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and co-leader of the research team.
Image Credit: astronaut.comNASA Announces Discovery of 715 New Planets by Jaan