Feeds

Worlds that could support LIFE found among 715 new planets

Gazing at magnificent globes pays off for scientists

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Boffins working with the Kepler space telescope have verified the existence of 715 planets in what is the project's largest mass-discovery to date.

"This is the largest windfall of planets, not candidates that has ever been announced at one time," said Douglas Hudgins, exoplanet exploration scientist for NASA's astrophysics division.

"These results establish that planetary systems like our own solar system are in fact common."

A panel of scientists from the project said that the newly discovered planets, orbiting stars observed by Kepler, were between the size of Earth and Neptune, and have been primarily spotted in close orbit to their parent stars.

Four of the discovered celestial bodies were deemed to be within the "habitable" zone of their stars, where life as we know it is sustainable; those planets range from 2 to 2.5 times the size of Earth.

The researchers credited the massive finding to a new discovery technique which analyzes stars with multiple planet candidates traveling with specific orbits. In doing so, the scientists were able to quickly spot and verify the cosmic bodies were indeed bona fide planets.

In particular, the discoveries found that small planets orbiting close to their parent stars are much more common than originally believed.

The team noted that future missions, including the 2017 launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the 2018 James Webb Space Telescope deployment, could further examine the planets and determine atmospheric conditions.

In the meantime, scientists believe that they will be able to use the new analytical techniques to expand what had been a trickle of new planet verifications into a flow of several hundred new exoplanet discoveries per year.

According to Sarah Seger, professor of physics and planetary science for MIT, many of those planets are likely to be far more like our Earth than we previously believed.

"Whatever Kepler looks at, it finds many small planets," Seger explained.

"It is interesting to look at the exoplanet data set and see scaled down versions of our solar system, we are putting ourselves into context." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.