715 Newly Discovered Planets
Scientists have confirmed that there have been 715 new discoveries of the planets in our Solar System using NASA’s powerful Kepler telescope.
In the past 20 years of workers finding more and more planets, researchers have found over 1,000 new planets so now, the fact that a new discovery of 715 has just been made all in one single go is a big deal.
The recently discovered planets are all orbiting 305 stars and are in multi-planet systems.
95% of these new planets are all smaller than Neptune, which is four times the radius of our home planet, Earth.
Habitable means that the planet can be suitable for humans to live on them but for them to be habitable planets have to be the right distance away from a star.
Although the scientists know lots about their discovery, the planets are thousands of light years away from earth so they cannot take out a detailed investigation.
The Kepler telescope that was used to make this new discovery was launched in 2009 on a £360 million mission to discover if earth-sized planets in our Solar System could support life.
Non-functioning parts resulted in the telescope not being able to work properly last year.
Douglas Hudgins from the NASA’s department of astrophysics states:
“This is the largest windfall of planets that’s ever been announced at one time.”
“Second, these results establish that planetary systems with multiple planets around one star, like our own Solar System, are in fact common.”
“Third, we know that small planets – planets ranging from the size of Neptune down to the size of the Earth – make up the majority of planets in our galaxy.”
Scientist still have more data from the Kepler space telescope left to examine and it is hoped that more exciting discoveries will be made in the future.