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Kepler adds to extrasolar planet bounty
Posted: Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 8:09 AM ET (1309 GMT)
Kepler spacecraft illustration (NASA/Ames) NASA's Kepler mission released a new set of 461 potential extrasolar planets on Monday as other researchers, using Kepler data, indicated that at least one star out of every six in the galaxy should have an Earth-sized planet. The new "planet candidates" bring the total number of potential planets detected by Kepler to 2,740, although most have yet to be confirmed. The larger growth in the number of planet candidates is among the Earth-sized and super-Earth worlds, with their numbers increasing by 43 and 21 percent, respectively; there was also a sharp increase in the number of stars with more than one planet. A separate analysis of Kepler data by Harvard scientists, taking into account missing data and false positives, concluded that about one star in six in the galaxy should have a Earth-sized planet with an orbit of 85 days or less. Taking into account larger planets and orbits, and they believe that nearly all stars should have planets of some kind orbiting them.
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