NASA Announces the Discovery of 715 New Worlds: A Planet Bonanza

You may have heard this news already that NASA has recently discovered 700+ exoplanets but here is a little more explanation. Out of these 700 plus exoplanets 95% are smaller than Neptune and over one hundred of these exoplanets are approximately the same size as Earth. This study shows that planets in multi systems tend to be small with flat and circular orbit like orbits of our inner solar system planets. Years ago, before the launch of NASA’s Kepler space telescope, scientists were thrilled when they even discovered a single exoplanet and on 26th of February Kepler team announced the discovery 700+ exoplanets. Kepler Space Telescope has been always good at finding exoplanets and finding exoplanets is a primary goal of the Kepler Space telescope. These newly discovered planets orbit 305 stars.

Image Credit: NASA

Kepler works on slight dimming of the light of a star when a distant planet transits its parent star. This is a kind of slow process of finding exoplanets. Verification by multiplicity is another new technique by which bulk of planets can be observed in a short time. Verification by multiplying relies on the work of probability. If you imagine a star with a group of other stars around it, then due to their mutual gravitational attraction this system will be directed towards chaos. But a star with a bunch of planets would have a more stable orbital configuration as compared to a bunch of stars. So if astronomers see multiple transits of objects across a star’s face than the supposition is that it would be numerous planets. In this discovery more than 100 planets are earth sized and being Earth-size does not mean that a planet is automatically Earth-like, for example, Venus is earth-size planet but you really don’t want to go to Venus because Venus is a Burning Hell.

Four of the current discovered 700+ planets are about the size of earth. Moreover, they orbit in the habitable zone of their sun. These planets would have surface temperature which can suitable for liquid water and we all know that the key ingredient of life is liquid water. Kepler was launched in 2009 and its mission is to find planets much like our own. Each new discovery of an Earth-Like planets opens the door to the excess of thrilling possibilities and this Kepler discovery has just opened 106 new doors. Discoveries of Kepler include more than 3,600 planet candidates, out of 3,600, 961 have been confirmed as bona-fide worlds.

According to NASA website the findings papers will be published March 10 in The Astrophysical Journal.

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