Accessibility links


NASA Telescope Discovers 1,000 New Possible Planets

This is an artist rendering provided by NASA one of the smallest planets that Kepler has found - a rocky planet called Kepler-10b - that measures 1.4 times the size of Earth and where the temperature is more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, January 2011

Researchers with the U.S. space agency NASA say a telescope has discovered more than 1,200 possible planets and hundreds of new multi-planet systems.

NASA released data Wednesday from the Kepler planet-finding telescope. The telescope was launched into space in 2009 to find planets that could support life. Kepler is pointed at an area of more than 150,000 stars in a part of the Milky Way galaxy.

New findings reveal there are more planets the size of Earth or smaller - rather than giant planets like Jupiter.

Jonathan Fortney, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the findings are "exciting" because researchers really did not know what to expect Kepler to find.

Kepler tracks a potential new planet by watching it pass in front of a sun-like star it orbits.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.