NASA’s Kepler Mission Introduces 715 New Worlds

Good news for us, NASA’s Kepler Mission just announces 715 new bona fide worlds. These just verified planets were discovered orbiting 305 stars in total. Most of them appear larger than the Earth with 95% of planets are about four times the size of Earth and smaller than Neptune. The discovery of these planets adds the previous number of new planets. The size of them is relatively closer to earth and appear as small-sized planets in the entire galaxy. Whether they are potentially habitable or not are still under research. However, some planets show potentially bonanza for resources and science.

The discovery and verification process of new planets have shown significant development since two decades ago. Before, verification was done one by one (planet by planet) to identify whether it’s planet or star. It’s a time waste method, by which the research team needed years to identify just one planet. Now, they use multi-planets verification system, a statistical technique to identify many planets at once. A research team co-led by planetary scientist of NASA, Jack Lissauer has done the method since the first two years of doing Kepler’s mission from May 2009 to March 2011.

Multi-planets verification system is done based on logic of probability. They detect the probability of the objects being planet or stars. To find 715 new planets, the team detected 150,000 stars. They didn’t observe all the stars, but picking hundreds of them with potential and put them as planet candidates. The verification was drawn by observing these planet candidates then. This multi-planets verification wasn’t done in instance anyway. The team was first trying hundreds planet candidates four years ago, then increasing the number over time up to thousands, and hundred thousands of them. Lissauer and team aspire to keep widening the range of multiple observations. This method is actually really familiar with our life. It was once adopted to find out which one the lion and the lioness is between two lions as well.

Kepler-296f, one of the 715 planets was verified to be potentially habitable planet. It orbits a star which sizes half of our sun and 5 percent as bright as it. While it is surrounded by vast and deep oceans, it has problem with the thick hydrogen and helium. Further research is needed, but at least the discovery brings the current total amount of nearly 1,700 of planets outside our solar system. More discoveries emphasize our position in the universe and within smaller scale, galaxy.

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