There’s a new batch of worlds and a new branch on our galaxy’s planet family tree.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has released 219 new planet candidates. Meanwhile, analysis of Kepler data has revealed a divide between planets about Earth’s size and slightly larger mini-Neptunes.
Kepler finds planets by watching their stars. As a planet moves between its star and the telescope, the light from the star dips. As the planet continues to orbit, the light continues to dip regularly as the planet repeatedly passes in front of its star.
This new release brings Kepler’s total count to 4,034 exoplanet candidates. About 50 of those candidates, included the 10 just added, are both Earth-sized and in the habitable zone.
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