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Kepler finds nearly 80 more exoplanet candidates in recent search

25 Jun 2018, 15:25 UTC
Kepler finds nearly 80 more exoplanet candidates in recent search
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An artist’s impression of Kepler-11, a sun-like star hosting at least six planets that was first observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in 2010. Now nearly out of propellant, Kepler continues to find exoplanet candidates, including nearly 80 amid some 50,000 stars during two recent observing campaigns. Image: NASA/Tim Pyle
In what amounts to a dress rehearsal for NASAS’s next planet-hunting satellite, researchers sifting through data collected by NASA’s ageing Kepler space telescope have found nearly 80 new exoplanet candidates amid some 50,000 stars, including one possible world 2.5 times the size of Earth orbiting the brightest star yet found by Kepler to host a planet.
The presumed planet orbits the star HD 73344, about 114 light years from Earth, every 15 days at a distance that translates into a surface temperature of 1,200 to 1,300 degrees Celsius (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit), roughly the temperature of lava pouring from a volcano.
“We think it would probably be more like a smaller, hotter version of Uranus or Neptune,” said Ian Crossfield, an assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Crossfield and graduate student Liang Yu described the observations in a paper published 20 June in The Astrophysical Journal.

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