Get ready for some 'galactic context' as nearly 100 new exoplanets discovered


Just like the planets in the solar system range in size from the tiny Mercury (18 of it could fit inside Earth) to the very big Jupiter (about 1,300 Earths could fit inside it), exoplanets come in a variety of sizes and masses too - some smaller than the moon and others a few times larger than Jupiter. According to the recent figures released, the Kepler K2 mission has found around 100 new planets outside our solar system which is governed by the Sun.

"We found that a portion of the signs were caused by numerous star frameworks or commotion from the rocket", ponder lead creator Andrew Mayo, a Ph.D. understudy at the Technical University of Denmark's National Space Institute, said in an announcement. Jessie Christiansen, an astronomer at NASA's Exoplanet Archive was quoted in a media report saying, "There are no surprises, per se, but it's a great new haul of planets, and plenty of fodder for exploring the individual systems within the catalog".

Hundreds of signals of potential exoplanets were analyzed by Mayo and his colleagues to find out which signals were emitted by the exoplanets and which signals were caused by other sources.

Exoplanets are the planets that are found outside our solar system. "But we also detected planets that range from sub Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger", said Mayo. However, in 2013, Kepler telescope lost his ability to detect exoplanets citing its issue with maintaining the course while focusing on these planets due to a mechanical failure. In this stage of Kepler's life, the space observatory periodically shifts its field of view to prevent radiation from the sun interfering with its balance. But a fix was affected in 2014, and the second phase of its planet-hunting mission, which is still ongoing, was called K2.

The transit can be identified with the help of recording the dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its parent star. This doesn't necessarily mean the other candidates are definitely not exoplanets, just that more evidence is needed to confirm. Researchers look for small dips in brightness around stars.

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The latest study follows news in December that the Kepler probe had found an eighth planet in a distant star system called Kepler 90. "Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories", said Mayo.

One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star.

As scientists attempt to gain a better understanding of the solar system and search for those existing beyond our own, they have often made incredible discoveries, especially those in the form of numerous exoplanets that mimic the ones in our own solar system.

How do you spot a planet far from Earth?

Before the latest AI-guided results, 'Kepler 90 was tied with Trappist-1, with 7 planets each, ' says Jessie Dotson, Kepler project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.