The number of exoplanets found by Kepler is growing rapidly

The number of exoplanets found by Kepler is growing rapidly

The number of known planets outside the solar system, found with the Kepler space telescope, has increased dramatically thanks to a new technology that tests candidates for planets in groups rather than one by one.

The new method allowed adding 715 new planets to the general list of planets found by Kepler. Earlier, this list was 246 planets.

Combined with the findings of other telescopes, the total number of exoplanets currently reaches almost 1,700.

“By moving statistical research into the“ Big Data ”view, Kepler demonstrated the diverse types of planets present in our galaxy,” says astronomer Sarah Seager, from MIT, writing to Discovery News.

"The growing number of new exoplanets confirms previous findings that small planets are most common in the galaxy - which in turn is a good sign for future missions aimed at finding planets in habitable zones around other stars," says Seager.

It also proves that most planets, as in our solar system, are part of whole planetary systems. For example, 715 new exoplanets are part of 315 planetary systems.

However, this is where the general similarity with our solar system ends.

Research found:

• A double star system that has a total of three planets, two of which rotate around one star and one planet around the other. • A star that has seven planets orbiting in a closer orbit than the earth orbits around the sun.

• A star with five exoplanets, four of which have an orbit less than 14 days and a fifth with a 87-day rotation period. This system, called Kepler-169, also has a sixth planet with an orbital period of 30 days.

Planets rotating in the Kepler-169 system are more scientifically interesting than, for example, Kepler-80, which has 5 exoplanets orbiting the parent star with a period of less than 10 days.

“We confirmed the presence of four exoplanets in the Kepler-80 system,” says astronomer Jack Lissauer, from the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

"Potential exoplanets have a too short orbital period, but they fit the rest of the criteria," he wrote.

In this regard, astronomer Jason Rowe reported an algorithm used to test 305 planetary systems, which has an accuracy rate above 99 percent.

"The vast majority (of these 715 exoplanets) have not previously been identified as planets," writes Rowe.

The studies were based on data from Kepler over the past two years. The telescope, which was launched in 2009, worked for two years before being suspended due to a failure in positioning.

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