NASA releases Kepler Survey Catalog to find hundreds of new alien worlds

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Kepler Space Telescope Satellite that was sent in 2009 in search of alien planets has revealed the data that it has captured. It has captured the entire data within 4 years. Kepler revealed the following information about 219 new candidates including 10 Earth-size planet candidates in the habitable zone. Within this zone, conditions are just right for liquid water to exist on the surface of the planet. NASA made an official statement saying, the new discoveries boost Kepler’s total to 4,034 candidate planets during its mission, 2,335 of which were later confirmed by follow-up observations. When 10 newfound Earth-size worlds are added, Kepler makes a total count of 50.

Susan Thompson, one of the Kepler research scientist for the SETI Institute in California and lead author on the new catalog study said, “With this catalog, we’re able to extend out to the longest periods, those periods that are most similar to our Earth.” “As a result, this survey catalog will be the foundation for directly answering one of the astronomy’s most compelling questions: How many planets like our Earth are actually in the galaxy?”, she further added.

Kepler has discovered almost 80 percent of all the planets discovered till date with the confirmation that they are exoplanets. It examined a narrow patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation. It completed its primary mission in 2013. Now, it has extended its mission to K2.  Kepler uses a different method to capture the data. It tracked the stars over a long period of time so that it could be easier for scientists to identify when the stars dimmed briefly that could give us a hint whether the planet crosses between the star and the Earth.

This method helped in discovering potential planets like the newly found KOI 7711. It’s an exoplanet that looks similar to Earth. It is just 1.3 times Earth’s radius at an orbit that lets the planet feel about as much radiation as Earth gets from the sun.

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