Kepler Discovers 100 New Alien Planets

Posted: Jan 8 2016, 6:33am CST | by , Updated: Jan 8 2016, 8:19pm CST, in Latest Science News


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Kepler Discovers 100 New Alien Planets
The artistic concept shows NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft operating in a new mission profile called K2. Using publicly available data, astronomers have confirmed K2's first exoplanet discovery proving Kepler can still find planets. Credit: NASA
  • NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft discovers 100 New Exoplanets

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered 100 new exoplanets during its second-chance K2 mission.

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft is back with a vengeance from the glitch which appeared in its system. This malfunction had put a full stop to the search for exoplanets. Since the past two years, the quest had been put on hold.

Now that things are back to normal, a hundred new exoplanets have been detected. The $600 million Kepler mission set off on its journey six years ago. The main task was the discovery of earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy.

Over 1000 alien worlds have been found up until now and now with an addition of 100, the numbers are going up. Scientists announced the discovery of 100 new alien planets by Kepler during its second-chance K2 mission at the 227th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

The search technology used is the transit method. This consists of the small lit-up dips caused when a planet passes in front of its star. Kepler captures this from its own perspective.

The whole procedure requires a lot of care and precision. It lost this capability in 2013, but the Kepler observatory team managed to fix the problem and then it was smooth sailing. The K2 mission of the spacecraft is well into its prime.

The first five K2 mission searched different parts of the sky. As a result, these missions "have produced over 100 validated planets," Ian Crossfield, an astronomer at University of Arizona, announced at the AAS meeting (via "This is a validation of the whole K2 program's ability to find large numbers of true, bona fide planets."

Over 60,000 stars were observed too. Hundreds of new exoplanets will probably be found in the future as well. Kepler is a venture of NASA and it is a sophisticated piece of equipment. It will go a long way in providing access to other worlds in space.

Get more information about Kepler Discoveries here.

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