Quirks & Quarks

Kepler confirms a thousand planets

The latest from the Kepler space telescope team confirms the existence of more than a thousand more planets around other stars

The space telescope has now discovered more than two thousand planets in total

Artist's conception of the variability of planets detected by Kepler (NASA/W. Stenzel)
The Kepler space telescope has spotted thousands of planetary candidates by observing the slight dimming of light as a planet transits in front of its star. But this stellar dimming can have other explanations as well, so planetary candidates must each be evaluated and confirmed before their discovery becomes official.

This week, the Kepler team, led by Dr. Natalie Batalha, a research astronomer at NASA's Ames Research Center and the Mission Scientist for NASA's Kepler Mission, announced that they'd confirmed nearly 1300 new planets, bringing the total discovered by Kepler to well over two thousand.

This further confirms the idea that planets must be very common in our galaxy.

Related Links

Paper in The Astrophysical Journal
- NASA release
- Princeton University release
Slate story
- CBC News story