Kepler has discovered 1,284 new extrasolar worlds. Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
The incredible new haul has more than doubled the total number of known extrasolar worlds to over 3,200.
Discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope, this vast treasure trove of planets is thought to include at least 550 rocky terrestrial worlds as well as 9 that have been identified as potentially habitable.
The telescope also found a further 1,327 ‘candidates’ that are also quite likely to be planets.
“Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy,” said NASA’s Astrophysics Division director Paul Hertz.
“Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars. This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe.”
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