Kepler Identifies 461 New Planets

Kepler Identifies 461 New Planets

Keplar telescope

It looks like Kepler is winning the race to find the most exoplanets. After the recent blog post that mentioned how volunteers at planet had identified potentially 43 new exoplanets, along comes Kepler and announces 461 potential new planets. 

The Kepler telescope has been in orbit around Earth for nearly 4 years now. It stares at a small patch of the sky continuously looking for the tell-tale dip in the light from a star as a planet crosses in front of it (think total eclipse, but the dip in light is minuscule). Kepler keeps track of the light coming from over 145,000 stars.

Keplar’s view of the night sky

Kepler's view of the sky containing over 145,000 stars. Images: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

So far the results from Kepler suggest that there are about  17 billion exoplanets in our own Milky Way the same size as our own planet. That's a lot of potentially habitable planets to find

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