Kepler discovers hundreds of new planets in our cosmic neighborh - Tucson News Now

Kepler discovers hundreds of new planets in our cosmic neighborhood

Kepler Space Telescope; Photo Credit: NASA Kepler Space Telescope; Photo Credit: NASA

After technical problems nearly ended the Kepler Space Telescope's mission back in 2013, it is now back in business and has discovered more than a hundred new planets that will be further studied to see if they are habitable.  According to Space.com, Kepler finds planets using the transit method, which involves looking for variations in a star's brightness as planets move in front of it.  

The original mission, which launched in 2009, had a core mission of finding out how many Earth-like planets exist in the Milky Way galaxy.  The Kepler Telescope has been a huge success, as it has discovered over 1000 exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) to date.  

While the new mission, known as K2, has been very successful so far, it is expected to bring more discoveries to the table in the near future.  According to Ian Crossfield, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, "K2 has racked up more than 100 (exoplanets), and lots of exciting extrasolar systems will likely be spotted in the future."  He added that the mission is only about a quarter of the way done.

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