NASA's Kepler mission has made an exciting discovery and subsequent announcement: the discovery of 715 new planets orbiting 305 stars. Says the space agency, about 95-percent of the newly discovered planets are smaller than Neptune, making them more or less around the size of Earth, and makes for a "significant increase" in known small planets.
Two MIT planetary scientists, Julien de Wit and Sara Seager, have published research showing how it is possible to determine the weight of an exoplanet using the surrounding starlight. Not only does this represent a way to determine the weight of something that is seemingly impossible to gauge, it will also facilitate the hunt for planets that are most like our own, possibly expediting the discovery of a planet like Earth.
A planet eleven times as big as Jupiter has been discovered orbiting a star at a distance of 650 astronomical units. That's 650 times as far from its star as Earth is from our own star. Never have we discovered a planet to be orbiting a star at so nearly great a distance.
A new analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data by Berkeley astronomers suggests that as many as 40 billion planets with climates similar to Earth's may be calculated to exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Of those, 11 billion orbit stars similar to our sun. The rest of the hypothetical planets orbit red dwarf stars, which are the same size as our sun but cooler. New news nicely complements the more in-depth recent mineral analysis of the single planet Kepler Planet 78b.
Scientists have discovered an interesting exoplanet about 700 light years away from the Earth residing in the constellation Cygnus. The planet is called Kepler 78b and is similar in mass and size to the Earth. Scientists also believe Kepler 78b is composed of rock and iron, just like the Earth.
Finding planets that are similar to Earth is a task that scientists and researchers have been working on for a while now, but it seems like they're making great strides in their findings. Astronomers have reported that the nearest Earth-like planet is possibly just 13 light-years away (77 trillion miles).
In the midst of searching for another Earth-like planet using NASA's Kepler spacecraft, astronomers are at least finding Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars. According to research presented at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, the Milky Way is claimed to have no less than 17 billion planets that are roughly the size of earth.
It wasn't too long ago when astronomers thought that solar systems outside our own would be more or less similar to ours -- there would be a central sun, with various planets of both rocky and gassy varieties. However, that's definitely not the case all the time. Today, astronomers have discovered a rogue planet that's uncommon from other planets like it.
Pluto may no longer be able to roll with the big boys, but that isn't stopping NASA scientists from continuing to take an interest in it. As it turns out, the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a fifth moon orbiting the solar system's second-most-massive dwarf planet. P5, as it's being called, is an irregularly shaped moon that's 6 to 15 miles across and whips around Pluto in a 56,000-mile-diameter circular orbit.