Even after a full year when a failure system brought down the planet hunting mission of NASA’s Kepler space lab, the space center has revealed a new technique which has shown hundreds of alien planets all over the universe. Kepler astronomers are still looking through the enormous amounts of data they had archived they declared on Wednesday at a press conference. They also put out a number of research papers in which they confirmed that there was the existence of at least 715 other planets that were out orbiting around other star systems.
This was the leading single day total of the announcement of the discovery of exoplanets, as such objects are called, since the first such planet was discovered back in 1996 and brings the complete total to around 1,700. Jack J. Lissauer, who works with one of NASA’s research centers located in Moffett Field, California, stated that on Wednesday astronomers were able to just about double in size the number of planets that are known to the people of Earth. Right now the galaxy is looking a lot more congested. NASA was able to confirm the existence of 715 recently revealed planets that exist on the outside of this solar system.
It was only about two decades ago around 1994 that astronomers had not seen any other planets that were orbiting around stars other than the planets in Earth’s own solar system going around the sun. Astrophysicists had come up with a brand new validation technique in order to confirm they had really found the biggest group of planets to be pronounced at one single time. Each of the newly discovered exoplanets is located inside systems similar to how the Earth and the planets in this solar system are laid out. They are all situated where multiple planets orbit around a star. Four of these brand new planets were discovered in comfortable “Goldilocks” zones, where it is considered to be neither too hot nor too cold.
95 percent of the planets are tinier than Neptune but about 100 of them are near the size of Earth and they are orbiting in about the same type of plane.
The Kepler spacelab was designed to search any planets that were going around stars. When Kepler saw something which it believed to be an exoplanet, that planet was considered to be a ‘candidate’ until astronomers were able to verify it for sure. There were over 2,500 candidates left inside all the Kepler information and this caused a back log, making it hard to approve planets quickly. The new validation system worked like this. What astronomers decided to do to make the approval process go faster was to look for multiple planets that were orbiting one lone star. Because they believed it was not likely that there would be very many of these out in the galaxy, that there might be only a handful out of a thousand candidates, the verification process would go very fast.
They ended up being shocked at what they found. They saw over hundreds of multiple planets orbiting single stars. They were able to eradicate the false images from the samples, but they were left with an enormous set of over 800 planets which had been found. Out of those, 715 were newly discovered. The dimensions of the planets can be figured out by determining the amount of light they block from their respective personal stars, the larger the size of the planet, then the greater the amount of depression that will be found in the starlight.
The last bit of exciting information was that the planets discovered orbiting around stars tended to remain on the same plane, very similar to the planets here in this solar system. This basically means that if Earth’s solar system was turned on its side, it would form a flat disk shape. The same concept is also true for these various other solar systems just the same. This means that it is most likely the other systems were formed the same way this one was.
When all such information is put together, it is thrilling. Scientists and astronomers have been working on gaining such evidence for many years. Such results as was listed above supports the idea that multiple-planet systems are extremely common.
The entire universe may be bustling with planets and such a technique has shown astronomers how to find them. As time passes, there will be better equipment built in order to view out into space. So even after an entire year and a failure system brought down the planet hunting mission of NASA’s Kepler space lab, there are hundreds of alien planets that continue to be found all over the universe.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post