The Kepler Mission Has Discovered Nearly 100 New Exoplanets

Artist's cartoon view gives an impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way

Out of 275 candidate planets, scientists confirmed 95 were exoplanets.

An global team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new planets beyond our solar system which are orbiting nearby stars.

Of the 275 candidates in the dataset - being compiled since the first K2 data release in 2014 - 149 were verified to be actual exoplanets, and of those, researchers found 54 had already been discovered earlier, leaving them with 95 previously unknown exoplanets.

These most recent exoplanets were spotted using NASA's Kepler space telescope, now in orbit around the Earth.

They have been analysing the first batch of K2 data, and have just announced the discovery of another 95 planets - bringing the total number of exoplanets discovered by K2 to almost 300. But a fix was affected in 2014, and the second phase of its planet-hunting mission, which is still ongoing, was called K2.

A candidate exoplanet is measured by the shadow it causes as it crosses its host star.

An worldwide team of researchers from institutions including NASA, Caltech, Denmark, and the University of California, Berkeley, today added 95 new exoplanets to the list.

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

The original Kepler spacecraft was launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single area of the sky, but it dealt with technical issues which left the telescope out of commission.

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It allowed researchers to uncover a new field of exoplanets, raising hopes for the prospect of life beyond earth.

Mr Mayo said: "We found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft".

Finding planets around bright stars is good news for astronomers because they can learn a lot about them using ground-based observatories. "But we also detected planets that range from sub-Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger", Mayo said.

Kepler finds exoplanets by looking for dips in the light from a star as a planet passes across its face during its orbit.

They range in size from Earth-like to Jupiter-sized.

Behind the K2 Mission.

"Exoplanets are a very exciting field of space science".

This is partially about the search for extraterrestrial life, but also because statistical data about the universe around us - such as how many planets there are, the average number of planets per system, and the number of rocky and gaseous planets - can tell us more about how typical (or not) our own Solar System is, and how it fits into our Universe.

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