NASA Kepler Space Telescope made 1000th Exoplanet Discovery

Jan 8, 2015 18:30 IST

NASA Kepler Space Telescope on 6 January 2015 made 1000th Exoplanet Discovery. Using Kepler data, scientists reached this millenary milestone after validating that eight more candidates spotted by the planet-hunting telescope are, in fact, planets.

Three of the newly-validated planets are located in their distant suns’ habitable zone, the range of distances from the host star where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet. Of the three, two are likely made of rock, like Earth.

Two of the newly validated planets, Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, are less than 1.5 times the diameter of Earth.

Kepler-438b, 475 light-years away, is 12 percent bigger than Earth and orbits its star once every 35.2 days. On the other hand, Kepler-442b, 1,100 light-years away, is 33 percent bigger than Earth and orbits its star once every 112 days.

Both Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b orbit stars smaller and cooler than our sun, making the habitable zone closer to their parent star, in the direction of the constellation Lyra.
Besides, the Kepler team led by Ames also has added another 554 candidates to the roll of potential planets, six of which are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of stars similar to our sun.

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