The discovery of 44 exoplanets beyond our solar system at one time with data from the Kepler space telescope and others.
These surveys usually find lots of less than a dozen planets. In addition, Kepler only collected this data after a technical problem reduced the control of telescope engineers in 2013.
“Two of the four control-reaction wheels failed, which meant that Kepler could not fulfill its original mission of staring at a specific patch of the sky,” study author Motohide Tamura of the University of Tokyo said in a statement. . “This led to its contingent mission, ‘K2’, our observations came from campaign 10 of this mission.”
The researchers discovered a wide range of strange and wonderful planets, some as small as ours and others that hover around their host star in less than a single day on Earth. The researchers recently reported their findings in The Astronomical Journal .
“It was gratifying to check so many small exoplanets ,” study author John Livingston said in the statement. “Sixteen were in the same size class as Earth, one in particular turned out to be extremely small, about the size of Venus, which was a good claim because it is close to the limit of what it is possible to detect.”
“Four of the exoplanets orbit around their host stars in less than 24 hours ,” Livingston added. “In other words, a year on each of those planets is shorter than a day here on Earth.”
The team is particularly excited about 18 exoplanets in multi-planetary systems. Livingston hopes that these will help us understand our own solar neighborhood. “Research from other solar systems can help us understand how planets were formed and even our own solar system , “ said Livingston. “The study of other worlds has a lot to teach us about ours.”
In addition to these validated planets, the researchers also found 27 candidates who may become true planets after further study.
The future of Kepler, which has been floating in space for almost a decade, has been the subject of much discussion in recent weeks. “We are lucky that Kepler continues to perform as well as it does,” said Tamura.
With little fuel, engineers changed it to a kind of hibernation to conserve enough energy to transmit data to Earth, NASA announced in July. The veteran telescope woke up in early August and began sending observation data home, Space.com said last Friday.
The telescope has found more than 2,600 exoplanets in its Kepler and K2 missions. In fact, NASA recently announced that Kepler had shown that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way … When will we find the “second earth” habitable? It’s only a matter of time .. What do you think? Leave your comment below!