More than 200 new planet candidates have been discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope.
"We like to think of this study as classifying planets in the same way that biologists identify new species of animals", said Benjamin Fulton, doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii and lead author of a study about the updated Kepler catalogue.
The findings of the new catalog study were presented at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley on Monday. "Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone". It is also the definitive catalog of the constellation Cygnus - The Swan - from the point of view of the space telescope.
The Kepler focuses on a star and notes the periodic dip in light that offices when a planet passes between it and the star.
With the final batch of observations from the Kepler telescope now available, scientists can work on answering whether earth-like planets are common or rare in the universe. One team of researchers analyzed the Kepler data and found two distinct varieties of smaller planets.
The Kepler space telescope has now identified 4,034 planet candidates, Kepler program scientist Mario Perez said during a press conference.
Typically, exoplanets fall in one of two categories: super-Earths, which have a radius that is 1.5 times that of the Earth, rocky surfaces, and often little to no atmosphere; and those that are like mini-Neptunes, which re about twice the Earth's radius with thick atmospheres and no rocky surface. It reveals another 219 exoplanet candidates, with 10 of those close to the size of Earth and falling in their star's habitable zone.
Nasa has announced the discovery of 219 new suspected planets outside our solar system, AzVision.az reports citing the Independent.
These findings include 50 near-Earth sized planets in all, in which 30 of them have been verified. One of those factors is also that the telescope could only register those planets and stars that were moving directly in front of the telescopes sight line.
Perez further added that understanding the frequency of these planets in the galaxy will in turn help form the design of future NASA missions to directly image another Earth. Loeb was not part of the Kepler research team.