An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets. The discovery was based on the data from the second mission of NASA's Kepler Space Telescope or K2 released in 2014.
What are exoplanets?
Exoplanets are planets that are located outside our solar system.
Study: Key Highlights
• The researchers had initiated the study by analysing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets.
• Among these, 95 were proved be new discoveries.
• One of the planets detected was found orbiting a very bright star.
• The star called HD 212657 is the brightest star found by K2 missions to host a validated planet.
• The study will be published in a journal called the ‘Astronomical Journal’.
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NASA's Kepler Mission
• The Kepler spacecraft was first launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope.
• Astronomers and engineers then devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically.
• This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission.
• The telescope mainly searches for exoplanet transits by registering dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.
• With the recent discovery, the total number of exoplanets discovered by K2 mission goes upto to almost 300.
• The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995.
• Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter.